A city councilman is a person elected to office in a specific area of a town or city who assists in the making of decisions that affect that municipality. Depending on the location and size of the city or township, he is usually a member of a council that consists of a few to dozens of elected officials. A councilman’s job as a member of the city council is to define the parameters of local government. A city councilman usually serves as a member of the legislative branch, drafting laws and mandates that must be approved the mayor of the city. Certain aspects of a city’s needs and how to pay for them are introduced and voted on the members of the body.
The first step toward becoming a city council member is to run for election in a constituency. Within the city, this constituency is usually divided into a series of wards. The city is divided into sections, each of which has a similar population. An election is held with various candidates, depending on local ordinances, and a winner is determined on election day. The city councilman then joins the other elected officials from other wards on the city council.
In some cities, the mayor and the city council have an equal relationship in terms of legislation and voting rights. This means that the mayor and city council collaborate as if the executive and legislative branches of government were merged, with the mayor serving as the council’s chairman. Other cities make the mayor the chief executive, with veto power over the city council. In these situations, the mayor and the city council are frequently at odds over policy. This means that in order to achieve goals, the city councilman must collaborate with other members.
A city councilman is in charge of a wide range of responsibilities that are essential to the municipality’s continued operation. Urban planning and zoning are the most common of these responsibilities. This means the councilman must work to determine the community’s continued economic development, how public works projects are handled, and where parks on public lands will be located. A city councilman is also responsible for establishing a budget, accounting for tax collections, and determining how to hire the necessary staff for city functions, particularly fire and police services. He and the mayor are also in charge of enforcing municipal, state, and federal laws that affect the city and its residents.