AUSTIN, Texas — A need for child care has Austin leaders looking at ways they can help their colleagues.

  • Austin leaders chopped child care funding from current budget
  • Mayor proposes reforming ethics complaint process

Austin's Ethics Review Commission dismissed a complaint Wednesday against the city's Human Resources director, who said she needed staff to help watch her child on occasion.

The current Austin City Council's discussed the issue of child care since 2015. While Austin's known for its late-night meetings, they have tried to keep them within their scheduled times recently. However, they've run past 10 p.m. several times the past four years, making them more than 12 hours long.

Freshman District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents East Austin, is leading the efforts this round with support from Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza and several other council members. They want to ensure the city is a family-friendly workplace, especially for single parents who often have to stay long past sunset for meetings.

Mayor Steve Adler said city leaders considered adding money to this budget to provide childcare during meetings, but it was cut from the final budget.

"We know, on occasion, we are going to put those kinds of demands on people's times," he said. "How do we help them juggle that? Do we provide childcare opportunities? Do we allow for other employees to watch coworkers' children for a few moments?"

City leaders expect to discuss the matter more in the coming weeks.

Also on the table is a proposal to change how some ethics complaints are handled. Adler suggested in a post on the City Council Message Board to have the City Manager review some types of complaints first, rather than sending them immediately before the Ethics Review Commission.