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The Charter of the City of Oakland
Article II - The Council
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Section 200. Composition of the Council. The Council shall consist of eight Councilmembers, nominated and elected as hereinafter provided. The Mayor shall not be a member of the Council, but he shall have a vote on the Council if the councilmembers are evenly divided.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1998.)
Section 201. Qualifications. No person shall be eligible for or continue to hold the office of Councilmember, either by election or appointment, unless he is a citizen of the United States, a qualified elector, a resident for at least thirty days of the City or of a territory lawfully annexed or consolidated, and a resident of the district from which he may be a candidate for at least thirty days immediately next preceding his nomination or appointment.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1988.)
Section 202. Public Ethics Commission; Council Salaries. (a) There is hereby established a Public Ethics Commission which shall be responsible for responding to issues with regard to compliance by the City of Oakland, its elected officials, officers, employees, boards and commissions with regard to compliance with City regulations and policies intended to assure fairness, openness, honesty and integrity in City government including, Oakland's Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, conflict of interest code, code of ethics and any ordinance intended to supplement the Brown Act, and to make recommendations to the City Council on matters relating thereto, and it shall set City Councilmember compensation, as set forth herein.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1996, June 1998 and November 1998 and March 2004.)
Section 203. Nomination and Election of Councilmembers. Seven Councilmembers shall be nominated from districts and one shall be nominated at large. The Councilmember-at-large shall be nominated and elected by the qualified electors of the City at large. The District Councilmembers shall be nominated and elected by the qualified electors of their respective districts. The districts shall be as they exist upon the taking effect of this section, until revised by ordinance. In the year 1993, and every ten years thereafter, and whenever any substantial territory is annexed to or consolidated with the City, the Council shall form new districts not exceeding seven. Districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, as equal as possible in population, and as geographically compact as practicable. No change in the boundary of a district shall operate to exclude an incumbent from office before the expiration of the term for which he was elected or appointed.
(Amended by: Stats. October 1980, June 1990 and March 2004.)
Section 204. Term Office, Council. The Councilmembers shall be elected to a term of four years beginning at 11:00 a.m. on the Monday following January 1 following their election. The Councilmembers elected or appointed to office to serve terms beginning in 1985 shall serve in office until 11:00 a.m. on the Monday following January 1 in 1991. The Councilmembers elected or appointed to office to serve terms beginning in 1987 shall serve in office until 11:00 a.m. on the Monday following January 1, 1993. In 1990 Municipal Elections will be held to select City officers for four year terms for the following offices: Councilmember, District #2; Councilmember, District #4, and, Councilmember, District #6. In 1992 Municipal Elections will be held to select City Councilmembers for four year terms for the following offices: Councilmember, District #1; Councilmember, District #3; Councilmember, District #5; Councilmember, District #7; and Councilmember-At-Large.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1988.)
Section 205. Vacancy, Filling of. All vacancies occurring in the office of Councilmember shall be filled by special election within 120 days of a vacancy. An extension of up to 60 days may be allowed for the express purpose of consolidating the special election with the next Municipal Election or Statewide Election. If the special election is to take place before the first use of ranked choice voting in a Municipal Election, the Council shall have the authority to provide for a ranked choice voting election by ordinance. Otherwise, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes at the special election shall be declared the winner and thereafter sworn into office as soon as legally possible. Special elections for the office of Councilmember that take place during or after the first use of ranked choice voting in a Municipal Election shall be conducted using the same ranked choice voting procedures used to elect Councilmembers in General Municipal Elections. Whenever the period of vacancy in a Councilmember's term of office equals or exceeds 120 days the vacancy may be temporarily filled by appointment through the majority vote of the remaining Councilmembers, provided the appointee is not a candidate for the office which created the vacancy and provided the appointment does not exceed 128 days or go beyond the date the new incumbent is sworn in, whichever is shortest. Alternative legal voting procedures shall be used to the greatest extent feasible to increase voter participation in special elections including but not limited to mail ballot voting, electronic voting and extended voting period. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section 205 or this Charter, an election shall not be required to fill a vacancy in the office of Councilmember that occurs when the Vice Mayor fills a mayoral vacancy pursuant to Sections 303 and 304 of this Charter, and the Vice Mayor shall be entitled to return to his/her seat.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1998, November 2000, March 2002 and February 2007.)
Section 206. Vacancy, What Constitutes. An office of Councilmember shall be declared vacant by the Council when the person elected or appointed thereto fails to qualify within ten days after his term is to begin, dies, resigns, ceases to be a resident of the City or of the district from which he was nominated, absents himself continuously from the City for a period of more than thirty days without permission from the Council, absents himself from any ten consecutive regular meetings except on account of his illness or when absent from City by permission of the Council, is convicted of a felony, is judicially determined to be an incompetent, is permanently disabled as to be unable to perform the duties of his office, forfeits his office under any provision of this Charter, or is removed from office by judicial procedure. A finding of disability shall require the affirmative vote of at least six members of the Council after considering competent medical evidence bearing on the physical or mental capability of the Councilmember.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1988 and November 2000.)
Section 207. Powers of the Council. The Council shall be the governing body of the City. It shall exercise the corporate powers of the City and, subject to the expressed limitations of this Charter, it shall be vested with all powers of legislation in municipal affairs adequate to provide a complete system of local government consistent with the Constitution of the State of California. It shall have no administrative powers. The Council shall fix the compensation of all City employees, officers and officials except as otherwise provided by this Charter.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1988 and November 2000.)
Section 208. Meetings of the Council. At 11:00 a.m. on the first Monday following January 1 following each General Municipal Election, the Council shall meet at the established Council meeting place, at which time and place the newly elected members of the Council shall assume the duties of their office; and at such meeting, and at its first meeting in January of each year, the Council shall elect a Vice-Mayor from among its members to serve for a one-year term. Thereafter, the Council shall meet regularly at the time and place fixed by resolution. Special meetings may be held at the regular place of meeting and shall be called, and notice thereof given, by the City Clerk upon the written request of the Mayor, the City Administrator or three members of the Council and such notice shall state the special subject to be considered at the special meeting; and no other subject shall be there considered. Regular or special meetings may be held at places other than the regular meeting place only in an emergency in which the regular meeting place is untenable, or for some purpose of public convenience, upon the posting of a public notice at the regular meeting place that the Council is meeting elsewhere to be designated on the notice.
(Amended by: Stats. June 1988 and March 2004.)
Section 209. Quorum. Five members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lesser number may adjourn.
Section 210. Council Action. The Council shall provide by resolution for the order of business and the rules of procedure for the conduct of Council meetings. The Council shall act by ordinance or resolution or motion. The "ayes" and "noes" shall be taken on the passage of all ordinances and resolutions and entered upon the journal of the Council's proceedings. Each proposed ordinance or resolution shall be introduced in written or printed form. The affirmative vote of five members of the Council shall be required to adopt any ordinance or resolution, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by general law.
Section 211. Enactment of Ordinances. In addition to such other action of the Council as is required by statute or by this Charter to be by ordinance, every act of the Council establishing a penalty or granting a franchise shall be by ordinance. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be: "The Council of the City of Oakland does ordain as follows:"
Section 212. Adoption and Amendment of Ordinances. Except for emergency ordinances, no ordinance shall be adopted by the Council on the day of its introduction, nor within five days thereafter, nor except at a regular or adjourned regular or special meeting. If an ordinance is altered after its introduction (except for the correction of typographical or clerical errors), it shall not be adopted except at a regular or adjourned regular or special meeting held not less than five days after the date of such alteration. Any section or subsection of an ordinance may be amended solely by the reenactment of such section or subsection at length as amended.
Section 213. Emergency Ordinances. Any ordinance declared by the Council to be necessary for preserving the public peace, health, or safety in an emergency, and containing a statement of the reasons constituting such necessity, may be introduced and adopted at the same meeting if passed by the affirmative vote of at least six members. Appropriations to meet an urgent need for public expenditure, to protect the public health, safety, or welfare may be made as an emergency ordinance.
Section 214. Publication. Before final adoption of an ordinance, its title, a digest thereof, a notice showing the vote on its introduction and the date, time, and place of hearing on its final adoption, and notice that three full copies thereof are available for use and examination by the public in the Office of the City Clerk, shall be published once in the official newspaper of the City at least three days before said hearing date. Notice of the adoption of an emergency ordinance, the vote thereon, its title, and a digest thereof shall be similarly published once within three days after its adoption. The notices and digests shall be prepared by the City Attorney.
Section 215. Codification. The duly adopted and effective ordinances of the City may be compiled and arranged as comprehensive codes, which may be adopted by reference by the passage of an ordinance for such purpose.
Section 216. Effective Date of Ordinance. An ordinance receiving upon final adoption the affirmative vote of at least six members of the Council shall be effective immediately, unless a later date is specified therein. All other ordinances, unless a different date is required by this Charter, shall be effective upon the seventh day after final adoption; provided, that within three days after said date of final adoption, the Mayor may file in the Office of the City Clerk written notice to the Council that he has suspended the taking effect of the ordinance, stating in said notice the reason or reasons for his action, which notice the City Clerk shall forthwith deliver to the members of the Council. Such notification shall automatically cause the reconsideration of the ordinance by the Council at its regular meeting next following the sixth day after the aforesaid final adoption of the ordinance. If, upon reconsideration, the ordinance is approved by the affirmative vote of at least five members of the Council, it shall take effect immediately; and if not so approved, it shall be ineffective.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1998 and March 2004.)
Section 217. Penalty for Violation of Ordinances. The Council may make the violation of its ordinances a misdemeanor, which may be prosecuted in the name of the People of the State of California or may be redressed by civil action, and may prescribe punishment for such violations by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Section 218. Non-Interference in Administrative Affairs. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service for which the City Administrator, Mayor and other appointed or elected officers are responsible, solely through the City Administrator, Mayor or such other officers. Neither the Council nor any Council member shall give orders to any subordinate of the City under the jurisdiction of the City Administrator or such other officers, either publicly or privately; nor shall they attempt to coerce or influence the City Administrator or such other officers, in respect to any contract, purchase of any supplies or any other administrative action; nor in any manner direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the City Administrator or any of his subordinates or such other officers, nor in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers or employees in the administrative service of the City. Violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the Council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the convicted member.
(Amended by: Stats. November 1988, November 2000 and March 2004.)
Section 219. Ordinance: When Required. In addition to other actions required by law or by specific provision of this Charter to be done by ordinance, those actions of the Council shall be by ordinance which:
Provided, acts other than those referred to hereinabove under this section, or other than may be specifically otherwise provided for in other sections of this Charter, may be done either by ordinance or by resolution.