City Council : General Information

Additional Information, Overview and Definitions


Council Meetings and Agendas

The Council establishes an annual meeting calendar. Regular Council Meetings are usually held on three Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The Council may call special meetings with 24-hour notice. The Council regularly conducts Council workshops at special meetings which are generally scheduled at 5:30 p.m. preceding a regular Council meeting. Special Council meetings on matters such as litigation and labor negotiations, at which the Council discussion occurs in closed session, are generally scheduled on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. the day of an Agenda Committee meeting.The City Clerk prepares an agenda for each Council meeting, listing all business and any recommendations to be considered at that meeting. Pursuant to the Open Government Ordinance, the agenda is posted and the press is given notice 12 days before a regular meeting.  The agenda is posted and the press is given notice at least 24 hours before any special meeting. By law Council cannot discuss items not on the agenda except for certain emergencies. The City Clerk also posts a draft Council agenda approximately 19 days in advance of a meeting for review by the Council’s Agenda Committee which typically meets the Monday 15 days before the Council meeting in question.

All regular and special Council meetings provide an opportunity for the public to comment even if the Council discussion is itself closed to the public as in the case of Council discussions of pending or threatened litigation or labor bargaining matters.

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Council Actions

The City Council renders its decisions in one of three ways.

An ordinance creates or changes City laws. It must be voted on at two separate meetings and is effective thirty days from the date signed after the second vote. An ordinance can be repealed only by another ordinance.

A resolution expresses Council policy or direction to the City Manager and generally takes effect upon adoption. It may be changed by a subsequent resolution.

A motion is the most informal official action, usually to indicate majority approval for routine procedures.

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Council Procedure

Council organization and parliamentary procedure during meetings is in accordance with the Council's Rules of Procedure and Robert's Rules of Order.  The Council's Rules of Procedure is available here.

Presentations and other ceremonial matters are generally held at the start of the Council meeting and are followed by public comment.

If you have questions regarding conduct at meetings in general, or questions specific to an item on the agenda, please contact the City Clerk at 981-6900 or speak with City Clerk staff at the meeting.

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Disability Access

Disability-related aids or services are available to enable persons with a disability to participate in meetings, consistent with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Assisted listening devices are available at meetings for individuals with hearing impairment. These devices are installed in the Council Chambers in the form of a base station transmitter. Headsets and personal receivers can be obtained from the City Clerk for use during the meeting. Closed captioning text is broadcast live, displayed on chamber monitors, and available on video recordings of the meetings.

If you are hearing impaired and would like information regarding this meeting, call the City's Telecommunications Device for the Deaf at 981-6903. Wheelchair access to the Council Chambers and speaker's microphone is available to all persons. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in meetings, please contact the City Clerk Department at 981-6900. Notification forty-eight (48) hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to meetings. (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title II).

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Live Broadcast

The Council meetings are broadcast live on KPFB Radio 89.3 and on Cable B-TV, Channel 33. B-TV also replays the meetings the following morning (Wednesday) at 9:00 a.m. and the following Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Live and archived video streams of meetings are available on the Internet at http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/video

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General Rules

No person, except City officials or their representatives, shall be permitted to sit at the table in the Council Chambers without the express consent of the Council. A special section is designated for the press.

Persons attending Council meetings are also expected to meet normal standards of courteous conduct.

For the safety of all persons present, attendance in the Council Chambers is limited to the posted seating capacity of 123. Smoking is not allowed and the Council asks that people refrain from wearing scented products at meetings.

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Structure Of Berkeley Government

Berkeley was incorporated on April 4, 1878, and the first charter was adopted March 5, 1895. In 1923, Berkeley was one of the first cities in the country to adopt the Council-Manager form of government.

Eight Councilmembers are elected by district and serve four-year terms. Those elected in Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8 will serve until November 30, 2014 and those elected in Districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 will serve until November 30, 2012.

The Mayor is elected "at large" for four-year terms. The current term ends November 30, 2012. The Mayor serves as President of the Council, presides over all Council meetings, votes as an individual ninth member but carries no veto power. The Mayor is the ceremonial head of the City.

Municipal elections are held every two years on the first Tuesday of November in even-numbered years. Municipal elections, including Auditor, Rent Board and School Board, are administered by the City Clerk.

As the legislative branch of Berkeley's municipal government, the City Council holds regular public meetings where local laws, policies and basic decisions for the municipality are discussed and decided. The Council may act by ordinance, resolution or motion. No action is approved or becomes effective without receiving the affirmative votes of at least five members of the Council.

The City Council appoints the City Manager and boards and commissions. The City Manager administers City services and programs, enforces ordinances and prepares the annual budget. The City Manager appoints department directors to assist in carrying out these duties. Appointments of department directors become effective upon receiving the affirmative votes of at least five members of the Council.

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Elected Officials and Contact Information

City Council

Mayor

Tom Bates

(510) 981-7100

Councilmembers 

 

 

District 1

Linda Maio

(510) 981-7110

District 2

Darryl Moore

(510) 981-7120

District 3

Max Anderson

(510) 981-7130

District 4

Jesse Arreguin 

(510) 981-7140

District 5

Laurie Capitelli

(510) 981-7150

District 6

Susan Wengraf 

(510) 981-7160

District 7

Kriss Worthington

(510) 981-7170

District 8

Gordon Wozniak

(510) 981-7180

City government also includes advisory commissions that assist Council in setting policy and administering programs.  A roster of commissions is available from the City Clerk, (510) 981-6900.  A list of commission vacancies is available at: http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/Commissions

Civic Center Offices

2180 Milvia Street

(510) 981-CITY (2489)

Rent Board

2125 Milvia Street

(510) 644-6128

Police Department

2100 MLK Jr. Way

(510) 981-5900

Fire Department

2100 MLK Jr. Way

(510) 981-FIRE (3473)

Housing Authority

1901 Fairview Street

(510) 981-5470 

Visit the Department Contact Page: http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=4256 

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