GARLAND — After the next mayoral election in Garland, residents will not have to wait four years to select a new leader.
During a Tuesday night meeting, Garland Commissioners approved a charter amendment to change the mayoral term to two years. It was previously four. The decision followed a public hearing in January, which was a result of debate between commissioners in 2015. Mayor Pro Tem Haywood Johnson and Commissioner Ralph Smith requested the change. Their reasoning was to give residents a chance to select a new leader if they were not satisfied with the mayor’s actions.
Commissioner Judy C. Smith made a statement regarding the mayoral term and voted against it. She wants it to be consistent with other commissioner terms, which are four years. She expressed her thoughts for the record.
“I’d like for the citizens of Garland to know that I have no problem with changing the term of mayor to two years as recommended by the majority of commissioners,” Smith said. “However, I do feel that the commissioner term needs to be consistent with the mayoral term needs to be consistent for the reasons given being that it gives the citizens of Garland an increased opportunity to vacate an individual from a position of service, I feel the same to be true of the commissioner seat as well, and believe it to be in order that both commissioner and mayoral terms be consistent.”
Mayor Winifred Murphy, who was not present, also disagrees with the change since Garland is such a small town without a manager, which leaves commissioners having to deal with infrastructure needs. She believes a couple of years is not enough for a mayor to accomplish things. Murphy believes “the importance of collective visioning, continuity of services, and long-range planning will be compromised.”
Garland’s mayor-council government consists of one mayor and five commissioners. One member serves as mayor pro tem. Officials on the council serve four-year terms.
Town Clerk Pamela Cashwell said information about the new adoption will be published and will be in full force after Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. It will be the basis for the election in 2017. Previously, Murphy stated that she does not plan to run for another term, which expires in 2017. She was elected in 2013.
“As mayor, it is always my goal to provide leadership that will best serve the town and it is my desire for mayors after my tenure to have consistent and stable leadership,” said Murphy previously about the mayoral term.
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