Del Mar resolution, Use of Police policy and new charter discussed at Alice City Council

Robin Bradshaw

The Alice City Council held their scheduled routine council meeting on Tuesday, June 16.

Here are some of the highlights:

The council voted and approved the Resolution for Del Mar College to consider Jim Wells County as a destination for a new college campus in the area.

“I would like to see citizen retention and better diversity in Alice,” said Mayor Jolene Vanover. “The campus would offer two-year programs for careers at local coastal bend refineries, with the hopes to keep students in Alice instead of moving to West Texas or San Antonio.”

The Resolution is the first step of the process for the campus, it will now escalate to the legislature in Austin during the Fall.

Council members voted and approved action for a new Business Ambassadors Committee for the city. The committee will be volunteer based and serve as a customer service liaison for the what, where, and who to talk to, in regards to starting a new business in Alice. The intention is for the committee to work closely with the city and other community entities to make the new business experience easy and welcoming for new potential business owners. The committee will serve as a voice to council on better implementations to reduce the gaps of information and bridge better changes for the city to address.

Mayor Vanover asked the Interim Police Chief Ron Davis to address the council on the current protocols for the “Use of Force” directives for the officers at the police department.

“There is no time like right now to address the hard questions on police brutality, and avoid any possible situations here in Alice,” said Vanover.

Chief Davis stated the protocols are in line with the safety of detainees and officers, he noted the choke holds as the media portrays is not the normal practice of officers and not in the current Alice PD policies. Davis, expressed the upmost importance for all officers to have body cameras on their persons, and will be reporting back to the Mayor on a plan for reoccurring scheduled training on better “use of force” safety guidelines and procedures.

City council members voted for five new city charter changes to be placed on the November ballot for citizens to vote on. The city charter changes on Novembers ballot will include changes on unnecessary sanctions, the laws inconsistent with the state, council quorum rules and the public recreation board.

One charter change that was not voted for by council and in-turn Alice citizens will not see is changing the elections for city council members to a four year staggering term from the current two year terms with specified term limits. For example, Jim Wells County uses a four year staggered election for their county leaders. An attorney from Austin that specializes in city charters presented to council earlier this year, and stated 90 percent of cities with similar population comparison are all on a four year staggered term.

The mayor was in favor for the change and stated, “It makes more sense for continuity and real change in the city.”

Vanover was the only member in support for the four year staggered term the other members voted against it.

Councilman Pete Crisp was asked why he voted against the change and said, “It is not the right time because other issues are a necessity and currently less costly to change. To be honest, I was not elected, nor did I run for a four year term, I do not feel right increasing my authority longer than originally intended, but I do think a four year staggered term for elected members would be better. Currently, the charter was written in the 1940’s and has been only revised once in the 1980’s, there are still multiple legalities still in play that contradict the State, and those issues need to be addressed as first priority.”