Majority of Austin City Council opposes strong mayor proposal

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nearly every member of the Austin City Council has come out in opposition to the so-called strong mayor proposition.

On May 1, Austin voters will decide whether to replace the position of city manager with an elected mayor as the chief executive of the city.

Proposition F would give the mayor veto power over all city council decisions and the responsibility to appoint most department leaders.

Representatives from Austin for All People, the organization fighting against Proposition F, said a strong mayor government would consolidate too much power with one person and invite a greater risk of corruption to city politics.

“I recognize that all systems are inherently flawed and are not perfect, but I cannot support a change that would weaken the voices like mine providing district-level representation,” Council Member Vanessa Fuentes said during a press conference.

Nine of the 10 members of the Austin City Council have said they oppose Proposition F. Council Member Paige Ellis’ position is unknown and her office did not respond to a request for comment.

Mayor Steve Adler has been silent on the strong mayor proposal, too. His office would only say he has not commented publicly about the issue.

Austinites for Progressive Reform, a political action committee formed to support the strong mayor proposal and several other ballot propositions, believes the city’s chief executive should be directly accountable to voters.

“We need a strong leader who can be firm in a time of crisis,” said Nelson Linder, co-chair of APR. “In a political system, you need a leader. You need an executive branch. You need a legislative branch. Those things are important. You need checks and balances. We don’t have that in Austin.”

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