Tuesday, October 13, 2015


UTSA Public Administration Students Host City Council Salary Panel Discussion Dec. 5



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(Dec. 4, 2013) -- Public Administration students from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Public Policy will present findings from a civic participation research project they conducted titled "To Pay or Not to Pay? Gathering Public Input on City Council Salaries" on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Buena Vista Building Meeting Assembly Room (1.338) at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

A panel discussion featuring several community members will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

"The idea behind this project is not to advocate for or against paying City Council members through a salary structure," said Francine Romero, associate dean for the College of Public Policy. "Instead, this project was designed to gauge public opinion on this specific topic and present the research to the community in a clear, concise way."

Late last month, Romero's Contemporary Issues in Public Administration class invited 30 community members from around San Antonio to participate in a research meeting regarding the pros and cons of moving City Council members to a salary structure. The research meeting was the first part of their two-part senior seminar project.

Participants were divided into groups of four to five per table. Students facilitated the discussions, broaching a wide variety of related topics including possible salary ranges for City Council Members, what a salary structure would mean for San Antonio and how the city stacks up against other major cities in the U.S.

Currently, San Antonio, ranked the seventh largest city in the U.S. by the U.S. Census Bureau, pays City Council members $20 per every meeting that they attend. In comparison, San Diego, Calif., ranked the eighth largest city in the country, pays its council members an annual salary of $75,386, according to the 2014 budget report.

The class found that participants were generally in favor of a change, but they felt that there needed to be a larger public dialogue about the topic.

"In 2004, a proposal to amend the city Charter in order to allow a salary approximately equivalent to the median San Antonio income was put forth by former San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza," said Romero. "The proposal was rejected by voters by a 2-1 margin. However, the research meeting findings suggest it might be a good time to revisit the issue at a broader level."

The panel will discuss whether a policy change makes sense for San Antonio, how the City can foster a more expansive public dialogue on this question, and the different challenges that would face a change in salary structure for City Council members. Planned panelists for the event include:

  • Elena Guajardo, former San Antonio City Council member
  • Gilbert Garcia, reporter for the San Antonio Express-News
  • Weston Martinez, president of Texas Freedom PAC
  • Bonnie Connor, former councilwoman for District 8
  • Christian Archer, San Antonio political and campaign consultant

For more information, contact Erin Jines in the College of Public Policy at 210-458-3213 or erin.jines@utsa.edu. Free parking is available in Lot D-3 under IH-35.

Connect with UTSA online at http://www.utsa.edu, http://www.facebook.com/utsa, http://www.twitter.com/utsa or http://www.youtube.com/utsa





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UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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