Petition that calls for efficiency audit of Austin City Hall validated


Yet another citizen petition appears primed to appear on November’s ballot.

The Austin City Clerk’s office validated a petition Friday that will ask Austin voters if the city should have an outside party conduct a one-time audit of government efficiency at City Hall.

More than 30,000 people signed the petition, and the signatures of 20,000 registered voters were needed to trigger an initiative election. Michael Searle, a former staffer in Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s office, led the petition effort, working with volunteers and paid canvassers.

The efficiency audit petition represents the second resident initiative that could come before Austin voters on Nov. 6. Voters also might get the chance to decide whether comprehensive changes to the city’s land-use code, like those outlined in the all-but-dead CodeNext, should be subject to elections.

The council will vote Thursday whether the petition ordinance should be part of a lengthy ballot on Election Day that includes municipal bond propositions, five City Council seats and the mayor. The council also could decide to adopt the ordinance outright and order an efficiency audit.

Recent polls showed that 82 percent of voters support conducting the proposed audit, according to a news release from Searle’s political action committee, Citizens for an Accountable Austin.

“We are excited about the news and ready to take the needed next steps to ensure that the benefits of this proposal will be realized by Austin as soon as possible,” Searle said in the release. “Although the city council does not typically adopt petition ordinances brought forward by the public, we hope the broad support and benefits of this idea will help to change that trend.”



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