Council Function and Duties

 

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The City of Burlington operates in accordance with the Mayor-Council form of government, as authorized in the Optional Municipal Charter Law (NJSA 40:69A).

The Common Council consists of seven (7) members: three at-large Councilpersons and one from each of the four wards, who shall serve for a term of four years. (See Voting Ward Map)

The function of the Common Council is summarized out of OMCL NJSA 40:69A as:

  • Exercises Legislative Power of the municipality by Ordinance
  • May act with Authority by Resolution when Mayoral action is not required
    • Resolutions are placed in force without Mayoral signature
    • Resolutions are not subject to Mayoral veto
    • Overrides Mayor’s veto by 2/3 vote of all members
    • Disapproves removal of department heads by 2/3 vote of all members
    • Expresses advice and consent to Mayoral actions
    • Removes any municipal officer, except Mayor or Council, for cause and with hearing
    • Form Council as a committee of the whole
    • Delegate any members as an ad hoc committee
    • Declares emergencies
    • Appoint, set salaries of and remove Council officers and employees within the scope of civil service requirements and the municipal budget
    • Approves contracts presented by Mayor
    • Expresses Council policies and opinions not requisite of Mayoral action
    • Acts as specified in Local Budget Law and Local Fiscal Affairs Law
  • Adopts rules for Council
  • Establishes Council Meeting place and time
  • Approves appointment of department heads
  • Designate official newspapers for Public Notices
  • Appoints Municipal Clerk to serve as Clerk of the Council
  • Induces reduction of any item of Mayoral budget by majority vote

Council has also been designated the City’s Redevelopment Authority.

All this for an annual salary of $3,133.00 with no expenses.

OFFICIAL NJSA 40:69A-36 DESCRIPTION OF COUNCIL’S DUTIES  | page top

Definitively, 40:69A-36 places “the legislative power of the municipality in the municipal council”, to be “exercised by ordinance”, or “exercised by resolution” when approval by the mayor is not required, including, but not limited to:

  1. “The override of a veto of the mayor;
  2. The exercise of advice and consent to actions of the mayor;
  3. The conduct of a legislative inquiry or investigation;
  4. The expression of disapproval of the removal by the mayor of officers or employees;
  5. The removal of any municipal officer for cause;
  6. The adoption of rules for the council;
  7. The establishment of times and places for council meetings;
  8. The establishment of the council as a committee of the whole and the delegation of any number of its members as an ad hoc committee;
  9. The declaration of emergencies respecting the passage of ordinances;
  10. The election, appointment, setting of salaries and removal of officers and employees of the council, subject to any pertinent civil service requirements and any pertinent contractual obligations, and within the general limits of the municipal budget;
  11. Designation of official newspapers;
  12. Approval of contracts presented by the mayor;
  13. Actions specified as resolutions in the "Local Budget Law" (N.J.S. 40A:4-1 et seq.) and the "Local Fiscal Affairs Law" (N.J.S. 40A:5-1 et seq.); and
  14. The expression of council policies or opinions which require no formal action by the mayor”

Additionally, Statute 40:69A-37 vests investigative and removal powers to:

  1. “Require any municipal officer, in its discretion, to prepare and submit sworn statements regarding his official duties in the performance thereof, and otherwise to investigate the conduct of any department, office or agency of the municipal government;
  2. Remove, by at least two-thirds vote of the whole number of the council, any municipal officer, other than the mayor or a member of council, for cause, upon notice and an opportunity to be heard”