ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene is putting the term “councilmember” to a vote this November. Since the 1960s, the City Charter has used masculine terminology when referring to its members, but women have been elected as councilmembers in Abilene since at least the late 1970s.
In Thursday’s special meeting, City Manager Robert Hana said there was no recognition of the female gender in the charter. Meanwhile, Mayor Anthony Williams said he wasn’t aware there was a problem.
Mayor Williams stated in the meeting that he didn’t know of any outside group which recommended changing the City Charter language. Be that as it may, the mayor also said it’s a conversation that has been two years in the making, regarding the change.
One Abilene resident said his concern with including the representation of women in the City Charter lied with what he feared could come next.
“Small changes make big impacts. I taught a lesson in my men’s devotional, and how do you turn a ship? Just a little bit at a time. [It] Seems small, seems innocent, but it makes big changes over time,” Michael Fisher said.
Mayor Williams, though, said they’d stop at a two-gender representation within the City Charter.
“This is nothing contrived in regards to some sort of larger agenda,” Mayor Williams said. “We don’t have 50 genders, there are two. I want to be sure that it reflects that, and by the way you are voting on it.”
The vote on November’s ballots will be to change terminology from masculine terms including ‘councilman, he and him,’ to language like ‘councilmember, he/she and his/hers.’