I integrate Law into my presentations so that my intent is clear and understandable about issues of non-compliance. Presenting this way removes ambiguity. I am pointing out the City's responsibility as defined by Law to deliver on its commitment (Municipal Code) to make the City safe and desirable. It is collecting property taxes for that purpose.
All States have laws that are written in plain English on how Cities are to be run. Your State's official website will enable you to easily access the laws that govern your City Manager. The laws in your State may be worded slightly different, but I believe you will find the underlying intent to be the same.
I will be using Washington State Law to illustrate how these laws pertained to my presentations. I have highlighted the provisions I referenced, and have included a brief synopsis for easier understanding.
I always include a highlighted copy for the Council and public to see when I reference law. That way people can see how straightforward and easy to understand the expectations of law are. Law provides the framework by which accomplishments or failures can be objectively measured.
The six points of law that I reference in my campaign are highlighted below:
City manager — Powers and duties.
The powers and duties of the city manager shall be:
- To have general supervision over the administrative affairs of the code city;
- To appoint and remove at any time all department heads, officers, and employees of the code city, except members of the council, and subject to the provisions of any applicable law, rule, or regulation relating to civil service: PROVIDED, That the council may provide for the appointment by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the council, of a city planning commission, and other advisory citizens' committees, commissions, and boards advisory to the city council: PROVIDED FURTHER, That if the municipal judge of the code city is appointed, such appointment shall be made by the city manager subject to confirmation by the council, for a four year term.
The council may cause an audit to be made of any department or office of the code city government and may select the persons to make it, without the advice or consent of the city manager;
- To attend all meetings of the council at which his or her attendance may be required by that body;
To see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully executed
, subject to the authority which the council may grant the mayor to maintain law and order in times of emergency;
- To recommend for adoption by the council such measures as he or she may deem necessary or expedient;
To prepare and submit to the council such reports as may be required by that body or as he or she may deem it advisable to submit;
To keep the council fully advised of the financial condition of the code city and its future needs;
- To prepare and submit to the council a proposed budget for the fiscal year, as required by chapter 35A.33 RCW, and to be responsible for its administration upon adoption;
- To perform such other duties as the council may determine by ordinance or resolution.
[2009 c 549 § 3025; 1987 c 3 § 17; 1967 ex.s. c 119 § 35A.13.080.]
|Severability -- 1987 c 3: See note following RCW 3.70.010.
Section 2 gives the authority to the City Council to audit the City Manager's handling of the City. Councils are not allowed to micro manage the City Manager. They are however permitted to determine through the audit process the performance of departments that report to the City Manager.
Section 4 requires the City Manager to make a good faith effort to implement the laws on the books. Good faith effort isn't about perfection. Its about having the necessary means and tools to address issues as they arise and to taking timely action.
Section 6 requires the City Manager to respond to requests for information from the Council members.
Section 7 requires that the City Manager keep the Council informed about the current and future financial health of the City.
City manager — Removal — Resolution and notice.
The city manager shall be appointed for an indefinite term and may be removed by a majority vote of the council. At least thirty days before the effective date of his or her removal, the city manager must be furnished with a formal statement in the form of a resolution passed by a majority vote of the city council stating the council's intention to remove him or her and the reasons therefor. Upon passage of the resolution stating the council's intention to remove the manager, the council by a similar vote may suspend him or her from duty, but his or her pay shall continue until his or her removal becomes effective.
[2009 c 549 § 3028; 1967 ex.s. c 119 § 35A.13.130.]
This provision requires a 30 day notice of termination. A Council may remove the City Manager from office without 30 days notice by putting the City Manager on paid leave while the 30 days elapse.
Funds — Quarterly report of status.
At such intervals as may be required by city charter or ordinance, however, being not less than quarterly, the clerk shall submit to the city's legislative body and chief administrative officer a report showing the expenditures and liabilities against each separate budget appropriation incurred during the preceding reporting period and like information for the whole of the current fiscal year to the first day of the current reporting period together with the unexpended balance of each appropriation. The report shall also show the receipts from all sources.
[1967 ex.s. c 119 § 35A.33.140.]
This law requires the City Manager to provide quarterly reports of how the City is doing in respects to the budget assumptions.