Composition - There shall be a city council consisting of 9 members elected at-large which shall exercise the legislative powers of the city.
Term of Office - The term of office for city councilors shall be 2 years each, beginning on the first Monday in the January succeeding the councilor's election, except when that first Monday falls on a legal holiday, in which event the term shall begin on the following day, and until successors have been qualified.
Eligibility - Any voter shall be eligible to hold the office of councilor-at-large. If a councilor-at-large removes from the city during the councilor's term, that office shall immediately be deemed vacant and filled in the manner provided in section 2-11. The city council shall determine whether a councilor has removed from the city.
Election and Term - As soon as practicable after the councilors-elect have been qualified following each regular city election, as provided in section 9-11, the members of the city council shall elect from among its members a president and vice-president who shall serve for a 1 year term. The method of election of the president and vice-president shall be prescribed within the rules of the city council.
Powers and Duties - The president shall prepare the agenda for city council meetings. The president shall preside at all meetings of the city council, regulate its proceedings, preserve decorum, and decide all questions of order. The president shall appoint all members of committees of the city council, whether special or standing, and such other appointments as are established by the charter and ordinances. In making appointments as established by the charter and ordinances, the president shall appoint city residents. The president shall have the same powers to vote upon measures coming before the city council as any other member of the city council. The president shall perform any other duties consistent with the office that are established by charter, ordinance or other vote of the city council. The vice-president shall preside in the absence of the president.
Holding Other City Position - Except as otherwise provided by the charter, no member of the city council shall hold any other compensated city position. No former member of the city council shall hold any compensated appointed city position until 1 year following the date on which the former member's service on the city council has terminated. This section shall not prevent a city employee who vacated a position in order to serve as a member of the city council from returning to the same or other position upon the expiration of the term for which that person was elected.
Salary - The members of the city council shall receive compensation for their services as set by ordinance. No ordinance increasing or reducing the compensation of the members of the city council shall be effective unless it has been adopted during the first 18 months of the term for which the council is elected, provides that the compensation increase or reduction is to take effect upon the organization of city government following the next regular city election, and is adopted by a minimum of 6 votes of the city council.
Expenses - Subject to appropriation, the council members shall be entitled to reimbursement of their actual and necessary expenses in the performance of their duties. Actual and necessary expenses shall be defined within the council's rules and regulations.
Except as otherwise provided by the General Laws or by this charter, all powers of the city shall be vested in the city council which shall provide for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed upon the city by law.
Exercise of Powers - Except as otherwise provided by General Laws or by this charter, the legislative powers of the city council may be exercised in a manner determined by the city council.
Quorum - The presence of 5 city councilors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Except as otherwise provided by the General Laws or by this charter, the affirmative vote, taken by a roll call vote, of 5 councilors shall be required to adopt any ordinance.
Rules of Procedure - The city council shall adopt rules regulating the procedures of the city council, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following rules:
Regular meetings of the city council shall be held at a time and place fixed by ordinance. All regular meetings of the city council shall provide for a period of public comment as required by section 9-18 of this charter; provided, however, the city council may promulgate rules that regulate the period of public comment as deemed appropriate.
Special meetings of the city council shall be held at the call of the president or at the call of any 3 or more members, for any purpose. Notice of the meeting shall, except in an emergency, which shall be determined by the president, be delivered to each member at least 48 weekday hours in advance of the time set and shall specify the date, time and location of the meeting and the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is to be held. A copy of each notice shall immediately be posted as the General Laws relative to such postings require.
All sessions of the city council and of every committee or subcommittee of the city council shall at all times be open to the public unless otherwise permitted by law.
A full, accurate, up-to-date account of the proceedings of the city council shall be maintained by the city clerk, which shall include a record of each vote taken and which shall be made available with reasonable promptness following each meeting, but not later than the next regularly scheduled meeting. The minutes of an executive session shall be made available as soon as publication of the minutes would not defeat the purpose of the executive session.
In General - The city council may make investigations into the affairs of the city and into the conduct and performance of any city agency.
Information Requests - The city council may require a member of a multiple-member body, city officer, or a city employee to appear before the city council to give any information that the city council may require in relation to the municipal services, functions and powers or duties which are within the scope of responsibility of that person and not within the jurisdiction of the school committee.
Mayor - The city council may request specific information from the mayor on any municipal matter and may request that the mayor be present to answer written questions relating to that information at a meeting that the council may call within a reasonable time after the request is made to the mayor. The mayor shall personally, or through a designee, attend such meeting and respond to the questions. The mayor, or the person designated to attend, shall not be required to answer questions relating to any other matter. The council may further delineate procedures under this provision in the council's rules.
Notice - The city council shall, by resolution, request the attendance of any officer or employee of the city, but not including the school committee or employees of the school department, to appear before it under this section. The resolution shall include the subject on which the city council seeks information and may contain specific questions prepared by the council. No officer or employee called to appear before the city council under this section shall be required to respond to any question not relevant to the subject of the inquiry as identified in the resolution. The mayor shall receive a copy of all such resolutions.
Subject to appropriation, the city council may employ staff as it deems necessary.
Measures - No measure shall be passed finally on the date on which it is introduced, except in the case of an emergency. Except as otherwise provided by the charter, every adopted measure shall become effective at the expiration of 10 days after adoption or upon the signature of the mayor, whichever occurs first. No ordinance shall be amended or repealed except by another ordinance adopted in accordance with the charter, or as provided in the initiative and referendum procedures. This section shall not apply to resolutions.
Emergency Measures - An emergency measure shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for measures generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency measure and shall contain statements after the enacting clause declaring that an emergency exists and describing the scope and nature of the emergency in clear and specific terms. A preamble which declares and defines the emergency shall be separately voted on and shall require the affirmative vote of a minimum of 6 members of the city council. An emergency measure may be passed with an amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced. No measure making a grant, renewal or extension, whatever its kind or nature, or a franchise or special privilege shall be passed as an emergency measure. Except as provided by the General Laws, such grant, renewal or extension shall be made by ordinance. An emergency measure shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify.
Charter Objection - On the first occasion that the question of adoption of a measure is put to the city council, if a single councilor present objects to the taking of the vote, the vote shall be postponed until the next meeting of the city council, whether regular or special. If more than 1 councilor present objects, such postponement shall be until the next regular meeting. If it is an emergency measure, at least 3 councilors must object. This procedure shall not be used more than once for any specific matter notwithstanding an amendment to the original matter. A charter objection shall have privilege over all motions but must be raised prior to or at the call for a vote by the presiding officer and all debate shall cease.
Posting - All adopted ordinances shall be posted on the city website within 7 days of adoption, and copies of such documents shall be filed in the office of the city clerk and the main public library.
The mayor shall refer to the city council and simultaneously file with the city clerk, the name of each person the mayor desires to appoint as a city officer, department head or as a member of a multiple-member body. Appointments made by the mayor shall become effective on the forty-fifth day after the date on which notice of the proposed appointment was filed with the city clerk unless approved or rejected by the city council within the 45 days. All individuals appointed to a multiple-member body shall be residents of the city. If an appointed individual removes from the city, the position shall be immediately deemed vacant.
If a vacancy shall occur on the city council, the vacancy shall be filled in descending order of votes received by the candidate for the office of city councilor at the preceding city election who received the highest number of votes without being elected, provided such candidate remains eligible and willing to serve. The city clerk shall certify this candidate to the office of city council and the candidate shall be sworn to office immediately to serve for the balance of the unexpired term. City councilors serving under this section shall not be entitled to have the words "candidate for re-election" printed with that councilor's name on the election ballot.