Council to discuss city's old charter

COVINGTON -- The City Council has agreed to hold a work session to discuss an overhaul of the city's charter.

Councilman Chris Smith recommended the meeting after learning that the charter does not set a time limit for the mayor to sign into law actions taken by the council, a deadline to veto or a deadline for the council to override that veto.

Smith's concerns stem from the passage of a sign ordinance June 22. At the council's next meeting, nearly a month later, on July 18, Mayor Kim Carter announced that she had not signed the ordinance and intended to veto it. The council had one meeting in July due to the Fourth of July holiday, and an advertising error resulted in that meeting being postponed from July 12 to July 18, accounting for the long lapse between meetings.

Carter said the charter was written in 1962 and there are numerous changes that need to be made.

"It's almost a dragon," agreed City Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams.

The council approved Smith's motion to hold a work session within the next 30 days.

In other news, the council amended its 2012 meeting calendar. Previously, the council had agreed to hold one meeting in September, November and December due to the Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. However, Carter said that the council's workload necessitates having two meetings each month.

The council was split 3 to 3, with Janet Goodman, Keith Dalton and Ocie Franklin opposed and Mike Whatley, Chris Smith and Williams in favor. Carter broke the tie in favor of holding two meetings per month.

The meetings will take place as regularly scheduled, on the first and third Mondays of the month, with the exception of the month of September. Since the Labor Day holiday takes place on the first Monday, that meeting will need to take place later in the week, she said. The council holds work sessions at 5:30 p.m., with the regular meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.