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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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City Guide

City Council and Mayor

For information about the Ann Arbor City Council and issues currently before it, see a2gov.org/agenda, or call the Ann Arbor city clerk at (734) 794-6140. If you want to see changes made in any city law, rule, or procedure, call your council representatives. To learn who they are, see a2gov.org/government/citycouncil

City council adopts the city's annual budget and determines city laws and policies. It has 11 members: 2 from each of the city's 5 wards, plus the mayor. Ward representatives are paid $15,913.50/year. They serve staggered 2-year terms: 1 seat in each ward is filled in a partisan election each Nov. Ann Arbor has not elected a Republican officeholder since 2003, and the August Democratic primary (see Elections) usually decides the council's membership.

Regular city council meetings are held the 1st & 3rd Mon. at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 2nd floor of City Hall. Agendas for council meetings and notices of public hearings are posted at a2gov.org/agenda the previous Wed. Special and working sessions, open to the public, are conducted as needed; notice is posted in City Hall and at a2gov.legistar.com/calendar. There is no public comment at special sessions unless the mayor determines there is time. All Council meetings are broadcast live on the city's Community Television Network and repeated twice each week; see a2gov.org/ctn for replay times or to view meetings live online or via video on demand.

Council holds a joint caucus the Sun. before scheduled council meetings at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. Open to the public, caucuses provide a better forum than council meetings for citizens who want to talk directly with council members, but not all members attend.

Ten 3-minute slots are available for public comment at the beginning of each regular council meeting. Sign-up for speaking slots begins at 8 a.m. the day of the meeting, with priority given to those persons wishing to speak on agenda items (734-794-6140). After 1 p.m., slots are filled first-come, first-served. Speakers must identify their topic when they sign up, and are not permitted to sign up for others or grant time to another speaker. At the end of each meeting, members of the public may address council without signing up in advance. No public comment is allowed at working sessions. Public hearings are conducted on many proposed council actions. Anyone can speak without advance notice for up to 3 minutes.

Persons with disabilities can participate in public meetings. Accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the city clerk's office, 301 E. Huron, 2nd floor (734-794-6140, cityclerk@a2gov.org). Requests must be made at least two business days before meeting times.

Mayor, City Hall, 3rd floor. (734) 794-6161. The mayor, elected in a partisan election every 2 years, presides over city council and is a voting member. Democrat John Hieftje (pronounced -Heef-tya-) is currently serving his 7th term as mayor. The mayor leads council in setting policy and approving the budget; nominates members of boards and commissions, subject to confirmation by city council; has the power to veto most council actions; has certain police powers in emergencies; and acts as ceremonial head of the city.

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