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Welcome To Bakersfield

Overview of City Council Meetings

Council ChambersConduct of Council Meetings

Meetings of the Council are governed under "Robert's Rules of Order" on all matters pertaining to parliamentary law.  However, no action of the Council will be invalidated nor legally challenged by the failure to strictly follow such rules.  Additionally, Ordinances and polices have been adopted covering Council meeting procedures, including time limitations for public comment.


The Mayor is the presiding officer at City Council Meetings.  The Mayor executes all legal instruments and documents however, is not vested with administrative authority.  The Mayor is elected at-large for a four-year term and serves as the official head of the City for all legislative policy and ceremonial purposes.  In the event of a tie vote among the Council, the Mayor has the authority to cast a vote, in order to break the tie.


PUBLIC STATEMENTS - Following the guidelines established in California Government Code 54950, known as the "Brown Act," most cities establish specific rules and procedures governing public comment and conduct of their meetings. You are invited to address the Council during the Public Statements portion of the Agenda on any matter related to City business except matters set for Public Hearing on the agenda before the Council.  To address the Council, fill out a Speaker's Card and present it to the City Clerk before the meeting begins and no later than the conclusion of the Public Statement portion of the Agenda.

Public Statements are limited to three (3) minutes per speaker with a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes, per side, for any one subject.  The council may, by majority vote, waive the time limit.  The Council will take no action other than to refer the issue to committee or staff.  Anyone who has not provided a Speaker's Card to the Clerk will not be allowed to speak during the public statement portion of the meeting, unless approved, by motion, by the City Council after being notified of the name of the person and the subject matter addressed.

You may provide written comments to the Clerk, or send written communication addressed to the Council.  However, under existing rules, the City Manager is charged with the responsibility of determining if the communication is to be placed on the agenda.  Therefore, written communications addressed to the Council which can be handled by appropriate members of City staff, as determined by the City Manager, will be so handled.  You should receive a response from the staff regarding the disposition of your communication.  Communication to Council members not requiring Council action will be distributed to the Council through their mailboxes.

City Council Agenda

AGENDA PACKET - The Agenda and packet containing supporting material is prepared generally by 4:00 P.M., the Friday prior to the Council Meeting. Complete packets are available for review at Beale Memorial Library and the City Clerk's Office.  Additionally, citizens can access the materials online.

CONSENT CALENDAR - All matters are considered routine and generally approved in one motion.  A Councilmember or member of the public, during Public Statements, may request an item be taken off the Consent Calendar for discussion or have the item deferred for further study prior to the time the Council votes on the motion to adopt the item.

HEARINGS - Proponents and opponents may address the Council during the public portion of the hearing.  Each side is limited to fifteen (15) minutes, with an additional five (5) minutes for rebuttal. The Mayor will close the public portion of the hearing, at which time no member of the public will address the Council unless specifically asked to by a member through the Presiding Officer. THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF COMMUNICATING YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE COUNCIL ON PUBLIC HEARING MATTERS IS BY SUBMITTING YOUR COMMENTS IN WRITING, PREFERABLY NO LATER THAN 2:00 P.M., THURSDAY OF THE WEEK PRIOR TO THE COUNCIL MEETING IN ORDER FOR YOUR COMMUNICATION TO BE REPRODUCED FOR THE AGENDA PACKETS.  However, legally you may submit such material up to, and including, the time of the actual public hearing.

REPORTS - Council Committee reports and Staff updates are provided to the Council either orally or in writing.

COUNCIL STATEMENTS - Councilmembers may refer matters and issues of concern to Committees and/or staff.



CITY BOARDS, COMMITTEES, AND COMMISSIONS - Council appointed advisory bodies that carry out functions designated by City Council or law.

CLOSED SESSION - A "closed door" meeting provided for by State Law which allows Councilmembers to consider, in private, legal matters, specific personnel issues and labor negotiation matters.

MOTION - A proposal made by a Councilmember, for action by the full Council.

ORDINANCE - An Ordinance, or amendment to an Ordinance, is a "legislative act" and requires two readings at separate Council meetings.  An Ordinance becomes effective thirty (30) days after adoption.

EMERGENCY ORDINANCE - This Ordinance requires only one reading and is effective immediately upon adoption.

RESOLUTION - A formalized action of the Council expressing policy or directing certain types of administrative action.  It becomes effective immediately and may be changed by an amendment or subsequent resolution.

STAFF - The professional employees of the City who direct the day-to-day operations and carry out policies set by the City Council.  The City Manager is appointed by the City Council to direct administrative operations of the City government.  The City Attorney is appointed by the City Council and serves as chief counsel and legal representative of the City.

Council Chambers

City Council Seating Arrangement

1 - Irma Carson, Council Member
First Ward
2 - Sue Benham, Council Member
Second Ward
3 - David Couch, Council Member
Fourth Ward
4 - Harvey Hall, Mayor
5 - Ken Weir, Council Member Third Ward
6 - Harold Hanson, Council Member
Fifth Ward

7 - Jacquie Sullivan, Council Member
Sixth Ward
8 - Zack Scrivner, Vice-Mayor,Council Member Seventh Ward
9 - Paul Rojas, Public Works Director
10 - Stan Grady, Development Services Director
11 - Alan Tandy, City Manager
12 - Virginia "Ginny” GENNARO, City Attorney
13 -  Roberta Gafford, City Clerk
14 - News Media

City Government Overview

The City of Bakersfield is operated under the Council-Manager form of government. The City Council is the legislative and policy-making body of the City. The City Manager is the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the administration of City affairs.  The City Council is composed of seven members, elected from the seven separate wards of the City on a nonpartisan basis, to serve four-year overlapping terms. It is the Council's responsibility to enact Ordinances, Resolutions and Orders necessary to govern the affairs of the City as outlined in the City Charter. City Council Meetings are a vital part of the Democratic process in the administration of the City's affairs. The City Council appreciates your interest and urges citizen participation in government matters.  These meetings are open to the public and conducted by your elected representatives, as a body.   Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 1600 Truxtun Avenue, at 7:00 p.m., generally every other Wednesday.  Audio and video broadcasts of the meeting may be accessed through the Council Meeting Video webpage.

Your City Council is organized into seven standing committees which were created to review and analyze all City policies and programs and make necessary recommendations back to the full Council. Each committee consists of three Council members and each Council member will chair at least one of the following Committees:

Budget and Finance
Legislative and Litigation
Water Resources
Intergovernmental Relations
Urban Development
Community Services