City council

City council

A city council is a form of local government, usually covering a city or other urban area, such as a town. The system of government has roots back at least to the Roman Empire. The meaning of "City council" varies widely between different countries.


In some Australian jurisdictions, a 'city council' is an informal way of referring to local government areas in built-up areas

United Kingdom

In the UK, a city council is:

In England:

In Wales:

In Scotland

In Northern Ireland

United States

City councils generally consist of several (usually somewhere between 5 and 50, depending on the city's size) elected aldermen or councillors. Other common titles for members of the council include councilmember or councilman/woman.

In some cities, the mayor is a voting member of the council who serves as chairman; in others, the mayor is the city's independent chief executive (or strong mayor) with veto power over city council legislation. In larger cities the council may elect other executive positions as well, such as a council president and speaker.

The council generally functions as a parliamentary or congressional style legislative body, proposing bills, holding votes, and passing laws to help govern the city.

The role of the mayor in the council varies depending on whether or not the city uses council-manager government or mayor-council government, and by the nature of the statutory authority given to it by state law, city charter, or municipal ordinance.

There is also a mayor pro tem councilmember. In cities where the council elects the mayor for one year at a time, the mayor pro tem is in line to become the mayor in the next year. In cities where the mayor is elected by the city's voters, the mayor pro tem serves simply to serve as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor.

In some cities a different name for the municipal legislature is used. In San Francisco, for example, it is known as the Board of Supervisors because San Francisco is a consolidated city-county and the California constitution requires each county to have a Board of Supervisors.

Some cities also have a Junior City Council, in which youth of the city are elected into office and serve the city in the same ways the City Council does.

See also

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