What Do City Commissioners Do?

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City commissioners are elected officials who serve as legislators and help to create local and state laws. City commissioners, along with other councilmen and women and commissioners at the county levels, act as legislators. Frequently the power of city commissioners is limited to local authority, which allows them to have a say in the creation of laws and regulations that concern only their towns or cities.

In many states, towns and cities are granted a certain degree of autonomy from the state government, and have the ability to set local laws that govern the actions of residents in their specific towns. In some locations, however, there is lack of clarity over which areas of law and regulation fall under state jurisdiction and which can be governed at the local level. This is called home rule, and allows cities and counties to assert powers not specifically granted to them or denied by state lawmakers. City commissioners have the power to make decisions, which are set forth in laws, regulations and codes that affect the actions of citizens and benefit the health, safety and welfare of the public. Occasionally city commissioners also act as chairmen or mayors. When they do, it is typically an assignment made from honor or process, and grants commissioners a title without functional capacities to carry out those roles.