Charter Review Committee
Date: January, 2005
Sub Committee Members: Hal Cloer, Donald Montgomery
Should the Mayor have a vote on all matters before the Council or vote only to break ties?
The present Ashland City charter states that "The Mayor shall not be entitled to vote on any ordinance or measure before the Council except in the case of a tie vote, in which case he/she shall have the power to vote, and must vote either in the affirmative or in the negative" This provision was incorporated into the 1970 revision to the charter. In contrast, the 2004 edition of the Model Charter For Oregon Cities provides for the Mayor to be a voting member of the Council, with no veto authority.
In a 2003 survey of municipalities conducted by the ICMA and reported in its Municipal Yearbook -2003, it was found that in a majority of the reporting cities (55%), the Mayor can vote on all issues put before the Council. However, in just over one-third (35%) of the reporting cities they restrict the Mayor to a tie-breaker role - and this was found most often among cities with populations below 10,000. But not allowing the Mayor to vote at all is characteristic of larger, central cities with the mayor-council forms of structure.
Pros and Cons:
Vote On All Matters
Permits the Mayor to exercise political leadership and influence on matters before the
Permits the voice of the Mayors' constituency to be heard on matters before the Council.
May preclude any charter provision for Mayor to exercise veto authority.
Vote Only To Break Ties
Permits a charter provision for Mayor to veto matters decided by the Council.
May preclude charter provision for Mayor to vote on matters before the Council.
Budget Implications: None
The present Ashland City charter provides for the Mayor to vote on matters before the Council when there is a tie vote. This provision precludes the Mayor from voting on all matters before the Council. A charter change to permit the Mayor to vote on all matters before the Council would provide the Mayor the opportunity to advance his political agenda as the political leader of the community. However, such a provision would preclude the Mayor from exercising any veto authority.