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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Members of The City Council

What is a City Council?

A City council is a form of government that is used in many towns and cities around the world.  The members are elected by the registered voters in the city. City council members are public officials elected or appointed to represent a ward or district of a city as the municipal governing body. It is very important to note that in the best scenarios members of each Ward elect their representative to the City Council. The responsibilities of a city council member generally involve determining city government and administration policies, as well as adopting budgets and legislation. 

City council members spend a lot of time in committee and subcommittee meetings where city business is discussed. City council members should also spend time meeting with citizens and representatives of groups affected by city government. They have council meetings and workshop meetings from which minutes are available if one cannot attend. Residents may search for all manner of information concerning the activity of the City Council by reviewing minutes of the meetings. Each of the 4 wards in the City of Englewood elects a councilperson. A Council person at large is also elected and must serve all wards of the City.

Who may serve on the city council? A candidate for city council must live and vote in the city for at least 2 years and be at least 18 years of age. (old enough to vote) A lot more people than one would think may be elected to the City Council. Aspiring politicians ripe out of high school and some still attending are encouraged in some parts of the country. Check out this study of America's Young Elected Leaders. It is an interesting study that surveys over 800 elected officials aged 35 and younger.

The chained Elmore Avenue entrance to MacKay Park

The number of city council members varies from city to city. For example, the New York City Council has 51 council members, while Phoenix has eight (not including the mayor). Because of the amount of power associated with these positions, competition for the job of city council member is high. Compensation for members of a city council varies by size of city and scope of responsibility.

We all know that the mere fact that someone holds public office places them in situations where something more than money is gained. In the lives of some people this attention is worth much more than money. One man is able to build his own little Empire before moving on to larger conquests. It is important for regular folks not to get caught up in the aspirations of those with this type of ambition. It is important for the everyday resident and tax payer to begin to ask some real questions about how things are going in "Our Town" now and in future. It is time to change the paradigm of how we react and fall into line when commanded to do so by folks with strong ambition and lots of money.

Englewood's Local government

Beginning in 1980, Englewood switched from a Mayor-Council form of government to a modified Council-Manager plan of government in accordance with a Special Charter granted by the New Jersey Legislature. Under this charter, the mayor retains appointive and veto powers, while the council acts as a legislative and policy making body, with some power to appoint and confirm appointments. The City Council consists of five members: four are elected from wards of roughly equal population and one additional member is elected at-large. Administrative functions are responsibilities of the City Manager.

Past and Present residents celebrate the 4th Ward
The mayor is elected city-wide to a three-year term of office and has significant powers in appointing members to the Planning Board, the Library Board of Trustees, and, with council confirmation, the Board of Adjustment. The mayor serves on the Planning Board. The mayor attends and may speak at council meetings, but voting is confined only to breaking a deadlock with an affirmative vote for passage of an ordinance or resolution. The mayor has veto power over any city ordinance, but can be overridden with votes from four council members.
The City Council consists of five members, each elected for a three-year term. Four are elected from the individual wards in which they live and the other is elected by a city-wide vote as an at-large member. The city is divided into four wards which are approximately equal in population. The City Council is the legislative branch of government, deciding public policy, creating city ordinances and resolutions, passing the city budget, appropriating funds for city services, and hiring the City Manager. The City Council meets generally four times per month (except during summer months),_New_Jersey
United States Department of Commerce: United States Census Bureau

Optional Municipal Charter Law - What are the available city charter choices?

New Jersey State League of Municipalities - The types of Municipal governments in the state of New Jersey.

4th Ward Residents: The position of 4th Ward Councilman will be listed on the ballot this year. Find the name of the candidate you support. It will be worth the extra few seconds spent in the voting booth to select the right man for the job.

Englewood's current City Council
Lynne Algrant - Councilwoman at large
Mark Foreman - 1st Ward
Michael Cohen - 2nd Ward
Eugene Skurnick - 3rd Ward
Wayne Hamer - selected by city council to fill Jack Drakeford's seat until the November 6, 2012 election. Word on the street is that Mr. Hamer did not follow procedure and get a petition signed by 4th ward residents in order to run to serve until Mr. Drakeford's term is over.
Is he a candidate or not? He did not petition to become one. If incumbent school board members must file a petition in order to run again, what pray tell, makes the City Council seat any different? Are folks making up rules as they go along again?

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