Overview of City Council Meetings
Conduct of Council 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.
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 COMMENTS MAY BE MADE ONLY UNDER 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Council Committee reports and Staff updates are provided to the
Council either orally or in writing.
Councilmembers may refer matters and issues of concern to Committees
FOLLOWING ARE TERMS AND PHRASES YOU WILL ENCOUNTER DURING A COUNCIL
MEETING OR WHEN READING THE AGENDA:
BOARDS, COMMITTEES, AND COMMISSIONS -
Council appointed advisory bodies that carry out functions
designated by City Council or law.
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.
A proposal made by a Councilmember, for action by the full Council.
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.
This Ordinance requires only one reading and is effective immediately
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
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.
City Council Seating Arrangement
|1 - Irma Carson, Council
2 - Sue Benham, Council Member
3 - David Couch, Council Member
4 - Harvey Hall, Mayor
5 - Ken Weir, Council Member Third Ward
6 - Harold Hanson, Council Member
7 - Jacquie Sullivan,
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
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
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