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Austin Proposition F for 'strong-mayor' government fails to pass

It would have given the mayor veto power and the ability to hire or fire most department heads and direct staff.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s Proposition F, which would have changed the Austin City Council from a “council-manager” form of government to a “strong-mayor” system, failed to pass in Saturday’s 2021 election.

Before the May 1 election, a majority of Austin councilmembers came out against the measure, which had support from local advocacy group Austinites for Progressive Reform.

It would have given the mayor veto power and the ability to hire or fire most department heads and direct staff.

RELATED: Austin City Council votes to let voters decide on 'strong mayor' government proposal on May ballot

Right now, Austin's city government operates under what is called a "council-manager" form of government. There are 10 city councilmembers who each represent a district, and the mayor, all of whom are elected officials. A city manager is employed by the city government, appointed by the city council. They carry out the council's policy objectives and are in charge of big areas like the city budget.

Local group Austinites for Progressive Reform (APR) got the measure on the ballot after filing a petition with 24,000 signatures. The group argued Austin's current system is linked back to a charter revision campaign from 1924 by Monroe Shipe – the developer of Austin's Hyde Park, which, at the time, was said to be advertised "for White people only."

But the group Austin for All People pushed back against the measure, saying those who live in Austin would end up having less representation on the local government level.

WATCH: Explaining Propositions E through H

Austin Proposition F ballot language

According to a sample ballot on the Travis County clerk's website, the final ballot language for Prop F was:

Shall the City Charter be amended to change the form of city government from 'council-manager' to 'strong mayor-council', which will eliminate the position of professional city manager and designate an elected mayor as the chief administrative and executive officer of the city with veto power over all legislation which includes the budget; and with sole authority to hire and fire most department heads and direct staff; and with no articulated or stated charter authority to require the mayor to implement Council decisions?


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