Composition. There shall be a City Council of six (6) members and a Mayor. The term "Council" or "City Council" shall include the Mayor unless said Mayor is excluded by express provision therefrom or by operation of law. Two (2) of the Council members will be elected at-large, and the remaining four (4) Council members will be elected from wards, the boundaries and dimensions of which shall be determined by the City Council, in conformity with constitutional requirements and the requirements of the Laws of the State of New York.
Eligibility. Only qualified voters of the city shall be eligible to hold the office of Council members and Mayor. Any such elected officer of the city shall vacate the office upon removal of his/her domicile from the city and shall be disqualified from holding such office.
Qualifications. Every elected or appointed city officer shall possess the qualifications prescribed by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York, except as otherwise provided in this Charter.
Election and terms.
The Mayor shall be elected for a term of four (4) years.
The Council members shall be elected for a term of two (2) years.
Four (4) Council members shall each represent one (1) of the four (4) wards of the city, and a Council member representing such ward shall be domiciled and a qualified voter therein.
The salary for each of the six (6) Council members shall be nine thousand dollars ($9,000) per annum, and for the Mayor twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per annum. Council members and the Mayor shall receive their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office. In addition, the Council members and the Mayor shall have the option of receiving individual health insurance coverage benefits, through the City of Beacon's health insurance plan, such insurance policy type shall be determined by the Director of Finance. The Mayor or a Council member who elects not to receive health insurance coverage shall be provided a cash payment of $2,500. Once the Mayor or Council member elects not to receive the health insurance, such election must be for the full calendar year, unless the Mayor or Council Member is no longer covered by the health insurance from the other source. In such case, the Mayor or the Council member will receive a pro-rated cash payment. The City's contribution toward the premium cost of providing individual coverage shall be at the same percentage contribution rates as is provided to the City's department heads with the balance being paid for by the Council member or the Mayor who elected such health insurance coverage. Council members and the Mayor may secure family coverage through the City's insurance plan but such person is responsible for any such cost above the individual coverage cost. This shall take effect on January 1, 2018 with respect to Council members and the Mayor.
The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council and shall be recognized as chief executive officer of the city government. The Mayor shall appoint the Council Secretary. The Mayor, with the consent of a majority vote of the Council, shall appoint all members to, and fill all vacancies on, all boards, commissions and similar bodies created and authorized by state law or this Charter. The Mayor may appoint, from time to time, such nonsalaried advisory committees as may be necessary to make nonbinding recommendations as to those matters which they are assigned to review.
Holding other office. Except where authorized by law, no Council member shall hold any other city office or employment during the term for which elected to the Council; and no former Council member shall hold any compensated appointive city office or employment until one (1) year after the expiration of the term for which elected to the Council.
Appointments and removals. Neither the Council nor any of its members, with the exception of the Mayor, shall in any manner dictate the appointment or removal of any city administrative officers or employees whom the Mayor or any subordinates are empowered to appoint, but the Council may express its views and fully and freely discuss with the Mayor anything pertaining to appointment and removal of such officers and employees.
Interference with administration. Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations under Section 2.06, neither the Council nor any of its members shall direct or otherwise manage any city officer or employee, other than through the City Administrator or Mayor.
Creation of vacancies. A vacancy in an elective office shall exist when the person elected fails to qualify for the office within thirty (30) days thereafter, dies, resigns, ceases to be domiciled in the city and/or ward from which elected, is determined to be either mentally or physically incompetent to perform the duties for which that person was elected or is convicted of a felony or a crime involving a violation of oath of office or when a judgment of a court declares the election void, the office forfeited or vacant or when the person fails or refuses to file the official oath or undertaking as prescribed by law.
Procedures. If a vacancy shall occur in any elective office of the city (with the exception of Mayor), otherwise than by expiration of term, the Mayor, with the consent of the majority of the City Council, shall appoint a duly qualified person to fill such vacancy until a successor is chosen in accordance with the Public Officers Law. If a vacancy in an elective office is not filled by the Mayor with Council approval within forty-five (45) days of its occurrence, the Council shall have the power to fill such vacancy by four (4) affirmative votes of the Council. In the event that no appointment is made to fill the vacancy as hereinbefore provided, the Council may call a special election to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term. Such a special election shall be held no later than ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy. If the vacancy shall occur in the office of Mayor, the City Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall appoint a duly qualified person to fill such vacancy until a successor is chosen in accordance with the provisions of the Public Officers Law. in the event that no appointment is made to fill the vacancy in the office of Mayor within forty-five (45) days of its occurrence, the Council may call a special election to fill such vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. Such a special election shall be held no later than ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy. During the interim, the person so appointed as Mayor pursuant to Chapter 23 of the Code of Ordinances shall perform the duties of Mayor until the vacancy is filled as hereinabove provided and shall assume the additional compensation for Mayor while assuming those duties.
In the event there is a conflict with the language contained in either Chapter 19 or Chapter 23 of the Code of Ordinances, the terms of this section shall supersede the provisions in Chapters 19 and 23 of the Code of Ordinances entitled "Continuity of Government" and "Disaster Preparedness Committee," respectively.
The Council shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of and removal from their office and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of office other than those grounds causing an immediate vacancy, by operation of state law, shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand, after seven (7) days' written notice. Notice of such hearing shall be published in one (1) or more newspapers of general circulation in the city at least one (1) week in advance of the hearing. Decisions made by the Council under this section shall be subject to review by the courts. In determining the qualifications of its members, the Council shall use the standards set forth in the Public Officers Law and General Municipal Law, and such additional standards as may be enacted by Charter amendment or local law, provided that the same are not inconsistent with the Public Officers Law or General Municipal Law.
The Council shall have access to all information concerning any aspect of the affairs of the city, and may request such information in writing. The Council shall also have the power to make formal investigations into any aspect of the affairs of the city, and for such purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence. Any person who fails to obey any subpoena or lawful directive of the Council pursuant to this section shall be punished as provided by law for contempt.
The Council shall obtain an independent audit of all financial accounts at least once annually. Such audits must be conducted by a certified public accountant who has no direct personal interest in the financial affairs of the city government or any of its officials. The annual audit must be reported to the Council and the public no later than June 30 of each year.
Meetings. The Council shall meet regularly twice in every month at such times and places as the Council may prescribe by rule. The Mayor's office shall prepare and make public a written agenda the Friday before each regular Council meeting. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Mayor or of four (4) or more members, and whenever practicable, upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours' written notice to each member. All meetings shall be public; however, the Council may recess for the purpose of discussing, in a closed or executive session, those topics or items for which the Public Officers Law allows a closed session. The general subject matter for consideration must be expressed in the motion calling for such closed session. Final action thereon shall not be taken by the Council until the matter is placed on the agenda.
Rules and journal. The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping of a full and accurate journal of its proceedings and communications, which shall be a public record. They shall provide for public comments at all meetings.
Workshops. In order to prepare for regular meetings, the Council may meet in informal public workshops. Workshop meetings shall be subject to the same requirements as regular meetings with respect to notice, public attendance, advance public agenda, and public record. No formal legislative decision may take place at a workshop. Any Council member may request the Mayor add an item to the workshop agenda and if not added to the Agenda, a Council member may at the next workshop meeting request that the item be added to the end of the Agenda upon approval of a majority of the Council. Any Council member may refer to workshop any item of business that has not been previously reviewed in workshop and/or any item of business discussed at a regular meeting which requires further discussion.
A majority of the whole number of the Council, including vacancies, abstentions and any members disqualified, shall constitute a quorum, and the same number shall be necessary to perform and exercise any power, authority or duty of the Council.
Official newspaper. The Council shall designate on an annual basis an official newspaper or newspapers, which may be a daily or weekly newspaper of general circulation in the City of Beacon.
The Council shall have the power to enact ordinances for any lawful purpose, within its powers, as provided and authorized by § 20 of the General City Law or any other statute of the State of New York. The Council may enact local laws, for any purpose authorized under the laws of the State of New York, pursuant to the procedures set forth by the laws of the State of New York for such enactments.
All proposed ordinances must be presented, in writing, by the Council at least one (1) meeting before adoption, except for emergency ordinances as provided in Section 2.12. All ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments adopted by the Council shall be recorded in the journal.
No franchise or renewal thereof shall be granted except upon a public hearing, a notice of which shall be published at least three (3) weeks before the date set for the hearing. The request for such franchise or renewal shall be on file with the City Clerk for public inspection for the three (3) weeks prior to the date of the hearing.
To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the Council may adopt one (1) or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise, regulate the rate charged by any public utility for its services or authorize the borrowing of money. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting emergency clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced, but the affirmative vote of at least five (5) Council members shall be required for adoption. After its adoption the ordinance shall be published and printed as prescribed for other adopted ordinances. It shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. Every emergency ordinance shall automatically stand repealed as of the 61st day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent reenactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.
The Council shall cause the entire text of every ordinance and of every resolution having the effect of law to be printed in full in the minutes of the meeting at which they are introduced and adopted. The full text of the ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be published on the City website and made available to the public, free of charge, from the City Clerk.