Changes proposed to Tucson's charter

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On several occasions the past several years, the voters of Tucson have turned down a proposal to increase the salary of the mayor and members of the city council.

Now, there's an effort underway to do just that -- make the jobs full-time -- by changing the city charter.

The Tucson city charter is the city's constitution.

"The charter was written back in 1929, and we were a different city with different issues," says the Mayor's Chief of Staff Andrew Greenhill.

Today, the charter indicates that the mayor can't make a quorum at a meeting, and can't vote to fire city officials.  "It's a bit absurd, so changes there would be very much appreciated," says Greenhill.

In fact, the mayor and council aren't even considered full time positions.  "I didn't realize mayor was a part time job. Ah, well no wonder things don't get done," says Wendy Meeker.

That's a mindset people such as Ron Shoopman and members of the Tucson charter change coalition hope to tweak, "You have to have the right structure. You have to have the right attitude. And that all comes from the right leadership."

'The right leadership' meaning a stronger mayor, a city manager who can hold department heads accountable, and full time mayor and council positions -- with the salaries to go along with them.

"So that's a kind of combination we think this city needs and can benefit from," says Shoopman

But he admits pay raises for the mayor and council are a tough sell. The mayor makes $42,000 a year, council members each earn $24,000.

Wendy meeker thinks they should be paid more, "Absolutely yes."

Joseph Hubbard does not, "The more you pay them, the longer they stay there, and the more they watch out for themselves and not for the people."

That's just one of many issues the coalition will discuss at a meeting on charter change Friday.

A coalition Hubbard calls, diverse, "Most of them are from the city of Tucson. There are a few others that live outside the city. But the city is the city for all of us."

A city that may or may not have changes coming to its government.