Tuesday night's Lawton city council meeting featured a very important question for council members; how to handle proposed changes to the city's charter, and whether to present the proposals to residents on the November ballot.

Proposed changes to the charter included removing term limits for city council members and mayor, a requirement that all city department heads live within city limits (currently, this provision is only applied to the city manager and city attorney) and a change to the date of elections for city offices (which now are held in conjunction with primary and general elections), which would also move primary election dates closer to that of the general election. Also proposed was an item that would make a person convicted of felony embezzlement ineligible to run for a council seat or for mayor within 15 years of that conviction.

The amendment process has been under way since March, with council members offering proposals to change provisions within the charter, or to add new ones. According to the process set within the charter, the only people who have the power to amend the City Charter, are the cities' residents themselves. The only power the city council members and mayor hold, is deciding on what proposals will be submitted to residents for a vote.

The proposals to remove term limits and the residency requirements were rejected by the council and will not be included on the November ballot. The election day change and the ineligibility proposals passed the city council, and will now move on the the ballot in November.

Also during the council meeting, the cities' newest council member V. Gay F. McGahee took the oath of office as representative of the cities' 7th ward. McGahee won the seat in a runoff election April 5th, defeating Jesse Cross by less than 3% of the vote. She will now permanently fill the seat she had been appointed to in October, replacing long time council member Stanley Haywood, who passed away last year.

source: Lawton Constitution, KSWO news