Powers and Duties of The Council


The following is taken from "Municipal Government in Mississippi."


In mayor-council municipalities, the council is the legislative body. It elects one (1) of its members to serve as its president and another to serve as vice president (the president, or in his absence the vice president, presides over council meetings and may vote even when presiding). In addition, it appoints a “clerk of the council” and any necessary deputy clerks to compile the minutes and records of its proceedings, its ordinances and resolutions, and to perform such duties as may be required by law.Whenever the mayor is unable to appoint a councilman to serve as acting mayor, the council may do so.


The council may establish a department of administration and such other departments as it finds desirable; and it shall allocate and assign all administrative powers, functions, and duties (except those vested in the clerk) among and within the departments. While the mayor appoints department heads and directors, they are confirmed by the council.


The council is specifically authorized to adopt an ordinance creating and setting the qualifications for a chief administrative officer to be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council.


Other specific powers and duties of the council include these: Setting the compensation for the mayor and councilmen (where the salary is increased, it does not become effective until the next elected mayor and council take office); setting the salary of all municipal officers and employees; redistricting the municipality after every decennial census and after an annexation; requiring any municipal officer to prepare and submit sworn statements regarding his official duties; causing a full and complete audit of the municipal-ity’s finances to be made at the end of the fiscal year; investigating the conduct of any municipal department, office, or agency; appropriating money for the operation of government; overriding vetoes of council actions; appointing a council member to serve as acting mayor in the event the mayor is incapacitated; calling a special election to fill a mayor’s unexpired term; and requiring all officers and employees handling public funds to give surety bond.


Except in cities with a population in excess of 190,000, council members are not required to maintain individual offices at City Hall (the clerical work of members of the council are performed by municipal employees at municipal expense). Legislation authorizing mayor-council government prohibits the council from seeking to dictate or require either the appointment or removal of any employee of the municipality. Except for seeking information or advice, the council must deal with departments and employees through the mayor.


Meetings of Council


The council is required to hold regular meetings on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in July following the election of council members and at least monthly thereafter on the same day (or at such other times as the council may set). Special meetings may be called at any time by either the mayor or a majority of the members of the council.


At any meeting of the council, a quorum shall consist of a majority of the members elected. Where a quorum exists, a majority of the members present may adopt any motion, resolution, or ordinance, unless a greater number is specifically required. All meetings are subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. This act permits closed meetings under certain circumstances. (See Chapter V for a discussion of open meetings.)


152 See Code, § 21-8-7(5), for provisions governing the filling of vacancies in the council.


153 See Code, § 21-8-17, for provisions relating to veto and to conditions under which an ordinance may take effect without the mayor’s approval.


154 In the event of the absence of the president or the vice president, the council designates another of its members to preside.


155 The clerk of the council and the city clerk are two separate positions, although the same person may be appointed to fill both positions (the city clerk is appointed by the mayor subject to confirmation by the council).