Home Rule Charter
*NOTE: At the May 4, 2019 Election, voters approved three amendments to the Charter, which are currently being codified. When that process is complete, the updated Charter will be published here.
The structure of city government in Texas is founded on the premise that each local community knows how to best run their own affairs. Consequently, Texas State Law (Article XI, Section 5) promotes local autonomy by providing that any city with a population of more than 5,000 may adopt a home rule charter.
Home rule cities look to the state constitution and statutes to determine what they are unable to do. If an action is not prohibited or preempted by the state, the home rule city can, as a rule, proceed with the action. Although charters bolster local power, they cannot conflict with the state's constitution or any statutes in place prior to the charter's adoption.
The City of Kennedale drafted a home rule charter in 1997, and it was adopted by voters on January 17, 1998. This charter establishes a Council-Manager form of government, authorizing City Council to enact legislation, approve and adopt budgets, determine policies, and appoint a City Manager. The charter has since been amended once (Election: May 16, 2016).
What is a charter?
A city's charter is the document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the U.S. Constitution. The charter is the most important legal document of any city. Other local laws are found in the Code of Ordinances.
When a city operates under a charter, they're said to be a 'home rule city'. These cities can take any actions which are not prohibited by the state or federal laws and the constitution of U.S. and Texas. Home rule cities are not burdened by the limitations of Dillon's Rule, which is a doctrine that says that a unit of local government may exercise only those powers that the state expressly grants to it.
Kennedale's original charter was written in 1997 and adopted in 1998. It has been amended once, in the May 2016 election. You can view the ballot language from that election (PDF). All propositions passed, with the exception of Proposition 4 (four), which would have extended City Council's terms from two years to three.
Kennedale's Home Rule Charter Provides for the Following Positions:
Appointed by the City Council, the City Manager is the chief executive officer of the city, and is responsible for the overall management of daily operations. These responsibilities include the execution of laws and governmental administration of city operations and functions. The City Manager is responsible for appointing all department heads, with the exception of the City Secretary and the City Attorney, who are directly appointed by the City Council. Only a candidate recommended by the City Manager may be appointed by Council as City Secretary. There is no such requirement for the City Attorney.
The Mayor is responsible for reviewing governmental activities, providing leadership, and making recommendations to Council. The Mayor only votes in the event of a tie. The position does have veto power, but a veto may be overturned by Council vote.
The governing body of the city is known as "The City Council of the City of Kennedale". Council is composed of one (1) Mayor and five (5) council seats. Council members are elected to two-year terms, by a majority vote from the city at-large. Elections are staggered, with Places 1, 3, and 5 up for election in odd years and the Places of Mayor, 2, and 4 elected in even years.
The City Secretary is appointed by City Council (upon recommendation by the City Manager), and serves as the clerical officer for the City Council by drafting and maintaining meeting minutes, agendas, ordinances, attendance records, and other clerical records of the city and City Council. The City Manager designates additional administrative duties to be performed.
The City Attorney is the legal advisor to the City Council, officials, and staff, and represents the City of Kennedale in all legal proceedings. This position is appointed by the City Council.
The city maintains several boards and commissions (referred to collectively as 'boards' for the purposes of this document). These boards are composed of qualified, engaged residents who are relied upon to provide their unique perspectives, insights, experiences, and expertise. These boards augment the knowledge and perspectives of elected officials and staff, making their contributions invaluable to the process of establishing workable, responsive, and effective governance.
The boards established by Council are intended to assist in the pursuit of the "Ends Statement". Most boards serve in an advisory capacity, working alongside staff to formulate knowledgeable policy recommendations to Council. Other boards serve in a quasi-judicial fashion, with the power to make official decisions and rulings. All board members are vital to our city's success, and should strive to represent the residents to the best of their ability.