Charter Database Help
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The incorporation year is referring to the year the city was incorporated.
Charter revision date:
The charter revision date is the year the charter was last revised and a brand new charter was voted on (not the last amendment date).
The charter database relays what is written in the charter. The forms of government listed in this field are taken directly from statements in the charter declaring the city’s form of government.
The elected council appoints a professionally trained and experienced manager to administer the day-to-day operations of the city and to make recommendations to the city council. The council makes all policy decisions, including review, revision, and final approval of the proposed annual budget. The council may dismiss the manager if duties are not being performed satisfactorily.
The mayor is a member of the governing body, chairs council meetings, and normally is the municipality’s chief policy and ceremonial official by virtue of the position of mayor rather than through any specific authority extending beyond that of the councilmembers. The mayor also serves as chief administrative official, although department heads often operate more or less independently with only general coordination. Under this form there is no central administrator by formal title such as city manager.
Example: Division of Powers.
The municipal government established by this Charter shall be that which is commonly known as the Mayor-Council form. In order to institute and maintain this form of government in the City, all the powers of municipal government possessed by the City are hereby divided into three (3) general divisions, i.e., legislative, executive and judicial. No person or body belonging to or being a part of one (1) such division shall exercise powers imposed by this Charter upon or properly belonging to another. It shall be the duty of every officer of the City to preserve the three (3) divisions of the City's government distinct and separate.
Mayor/council governments can lie along a spectrum of “strong” to “weak”—meaning the authority of the mayor has been expanded. A charter may have some or all of the following attributes that strengthen the authority of the office of mayor:
Mayor is directly elected
Mayor is not a member of the governing body
Mayor has veto power over council decisions
Mayor appoints and removes key administrative officials (those who, by charter, report directly to and assist the mayor)
Prepares the budget
Mayor is usually salaried/full-time
Under the Hammerstrom Election Consolidation Act of 2003, city election dates were modified so that they were only allowed to fall on one of four dates. This law also allowed cities to change their election dates to the November general election (odd year) with no action needed, or to the May general election (odd or even year) by Resolution. Therefore, the charter designation of “April, every” as an election pattern has been superseded by state law. Cities with “April, every” elections by charter have chosen either a November odd year election by law or changed this date to May by Resolution, not charter amendment.
The charter allows for citizens to initiate local legislation (ordinances) through a process of gathering signatures on a petition and submitting it to the city. The process is charter-specific.
The charter allows for citizens to protest local legislation (ordinances) proposed by the city council and bring the ordinance to a vote of the electors, through a process of gathering signatures on a petition. The process is charter-specific.
Resign to Run for Other Office:
A councilmember who wants to run for mayor is required to resign his/her council seat before filing nominating papers.
Other elective officers must resign from their office to run for a different elective office.
Mixed ward/at-large nomination & election. There are both at-large and ward council seats. For example, there may be two at-large council seats (the candidate could live anywhere, citywide) and five ward seats. The ward seats require the nominee to live in the ward he/she wishes to represent.
The number represents the number of years the councilmember/commissioner serves in office: two, three, four, or five.
1. Council = the council chooses a mayor from among its membership after the election.
2. Election = Elected directly or as a council candidate receiving the most popular vote.
*if the charter described the mayor as “elected” by the council, the mayor selection was designated as “council” in the database.
Mayor on council:
(Yes/No). Is the mayor considered a “member” of council, thus part of the quorum?
(Yes/No) Does the charter contain a provision on how/why to dismiss the manager?
Example: City Manager - Removal
The council may remove the manager from office in accordance with the following procedures:
(A) The council shall adopt by affirmative vote of a majority of all its members a preliminary resolution which must state the reasons for removal and may suspend the manager from duty for a period not to exceed 45 days. A copy of the resolution shall be delivered promptly to the manager.
(B) Within five days after a copy of the resolution is delivered to the manager, he may file with the council a written request for a public hearing. This hearing shall be held at a council meeting not earlier than fifteen days nor later than thirty days after the request is filed. The manager may file with the council a written reply not later than five days before the hearing.
(C) The council may adopt a final resolution of removal, which may be made effective immediately, by affirmative vote of a majority of all its members at any time after five days from the date when a copy of the preliminary resolution was delivered to the manager, if he has not requested a public hearing, or at any time after the public hearing if he has requested one.
The manager shall continue to receive his salary until the effective date of a final resolution of removal.
Elected official as employee: (Yes/No/Silent)
A “No” answer indicates that the charter does not allow an elected official to also be an employee of the city, and/or the charter contains a provision placing a time restriction on how long an official must be out of office before he/she is eligible for employment with the city.
Example: Restrictions Concerning Officers.
Except where authorized by law, or where approved unanimously by the council at a duly-called council meeting, no councilmember shalt hold any other city office or city employment during his or her elected term, and no former councilmember shall hold any compensated appointive city office or city employment until one (1) year after the expiration of his or her elected term. This shall not apply to appointed city boards or commissions, or volunteer firemen.
Combined offices: (Yes/No/Silent).
A Yes indicates that the charter has a provision allowing the council to combine two offices into one. A No indicates that the charter has a provision disallowing the council to combine offices. Silent indicates the charter does not address this scenario.
Example: Combination of Departments and Offices:
The Commission may combine any administrative offices provided in this charter in any manner not inconsistent with state law, including the combination of the office of Clerk with that of Treasurer, or that of either the Clerk and/or the Treasurer with that of City Manager or with any other office.
Millage Rate Limit:
the Home Rule City Act authorizes city to collect up to 20 mills in property taxes. The charter sets the actual millage rate, which varies from under ten to the full 20 mills.
(Yes/No) Does the charter contain a provision that prohibits family members from being employed by the city if other family members are also employed or serve in elected/appointed positions?
Conflict of Interest:
(Yes/No) Does the charter contain a provision defining and prohibiting a conflict of interest?
(Yes/No) Does the charter contain a provision that provides for council investigation of charges against an elected/appointed official of the city and such other municipal matters as it may deem proper? Process is charter-specific.
The council or any person or committee authorized by it for the purpose shall have the power to inquire into the conduct of any department, office or officer of the city and to make investigations as to municipal affairs, and for that purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and compel the production of books, papers and other evidence. Failure on the part of any officer of the city to obey such subpoena or to produce books, papers, or other evidence as ordered under the provisions of this section, shall constitute misconduct in office.
If such failure shall be on the part of any employee of the city, the same shall constitute a misdemeanor.
The charter may require periodic future review of the entire charter, i.e. every 15 years the charter will be examined to see if it needs amending/updating.
The charter may require the charter to be placed on the ballot every 10 years (for instance) for electors to vote on whether to revise it.