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Governance Structure

Council ChambersCouncil-Manager Framework

The City of San José operates under a council-manager governance structure. This system combines the policy leadership of elected officials on the City Council with the managerial expertise of an appointed city manager.

Mayor and City Council
The San Jose City Council is the legislative body that represents the community and is empowered by the City Charter to formulate citywide policy, adopt laws/ordinances, and approve budgets. The City Council is composed of the Mayor, who is elected by the community at large and serves as the Council chair, and ten councilmembers who are elected by voters in districts.

Under the City Charter, the Mayor is responsible for recommending policy, program, and budget priorities to the City Council, which in turn approves policy direction for the City. The City Charter limits the Mayor and Councilmembers from serving more than two consecutive terms in those offices.

Council Appointees
The City Council appoints five individuals to manage the City organization and support the City Council for effective governance. These appointees include the City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk, City Auditor, and the Independent Police Auditor.

City Manager
The City Manager serves as the chief administrative officer of the organization. The City Manager is responsible for administering City operations and staff, advising the City Council, managing the day-to-day delivery of public services, and implementing Council policies.

City Attorney
The City Attorney advises and represents the City and the City Council in all legal affairs, including all transactional and litigation activities. The City Attorney oversees the management of the staff of the City Attorney’s Office.

City Clerk
The City Clerk ensures that Council actions are in compliance with all federal, state and local statutes and regulations and that all actions are properly executed, recorded, and archived.

City Auditor
The Office of the City Auditor independently assesses and reports on City operations and services. It conducts performance audits that identify ways to strengthen public accountability and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of City government.

Independent Police Auditor
The Office of the Independent Police Auditor provides independent oversight of the police complaint process through objective review of misconduct investigations, promotes police accountability, and provides policy recommendations to the City Council and the San Jose Police Department.

Government in Action
Council meetings begin at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. In addition, on the first and third Tuesdays, there are evening meetings that begin at 7:00 p.m. Council meetings can be seen on Comcast Cable Channel 26 in San José, or viewed online.

If there are issues that you wish to bring to the attention of the Mayor or the councilmember representing the district where you live, visit the City Council page to contact them. If you are unsure which Council district you reside in, check the map of Council districts.