Article II: The Council

Section 2.01 Number, Terms: The council shall have seven members, including a mayor, nominated and elected from the city at large in the manner hereinafter provided: Commencing in the 1971 municipal election, three persons shall be elected to four-year terms as councilmembers at each biennial municipal election and; provided further, commencing in the 2005 biennial municipal election, one person shall be elected to a four-year term as mayor.

The person elected mayor shall have the powers of the mayor as provided in this charter and also all powers of a city councilmember. All incumbent councilmembers shall continue to serve until their successors are elected and qualified. In the event of a tie vote, the election shall be decided by lot. (As amended by vote of the people on November 4, 1969 and November 2, 2004.)


Section 2.02 Qualifications: Councilmembers shall be qualified electors and residents of the city for a continuous period of at least two years next prior to their election, and shall hold no other public office or employment under the city government. If a councilmember shall cease to have these qualifications or shall be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or shall be absent from three consecutive regular meetings without being granted a leave of absence by the city council, this office shall become vacant and be so declared by the city council.

Section 2.03 Compensation: A councilmember shall receive a salary, payable in monthly installments; such compensation may be changed by ordinance. (As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1984.)

NOTE: By vote of the people on November 8, 1994, a new Section 2.18 established a Vancouver Citizens' Commission to set salaries for the Mayor and City Councilmembers commencing May 1, 1995. Section 2.18 supersedes the Section 2.03 provision for these salaries to be set by ordinance.

Section 2.04 Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore: Biennially, after the newly elected councilmembers have assumed office, at its first meeting, the city council shall choose from among its members a member who shall have the title of mayor pro tempore and shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor and shall succeed to the office of mayor in case of a vacancy. The mayor pro tempore shall upon succession to the office of mayor serve as mayor only until the next regular general election, at which time a person shall be elected to serve for the unexpired term of the mayor. The mayor, or the mayor pro tempore when serving as mayor, shall preside at meetings of the city council and shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law, have the rights, privileges, and immunities of a member of the council, but shall have no regular administrative duties. The mayor shall receive a salary of $480 per annum as a councilmember, plus $720 per annum for services as mayor, making a total annual salary of $1,200 payable in equal monthly installments; provided, that such compensation may be changed by ordinance. (As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1979, and November 2, 1999.)

NOTE: By Ordinance M-2947 adopted in 1991, the salary of the Mayor was set at $800 per month and the salary of a councilmember was set at $500 per month. By vote of the people on November 8, 1994, a new Section 2.18 established a Vancouver Citizen's Commission to set salaries for the Mayor and City Councilmembers commencing May 1, 1995. Section 2.18 supersedes the Section 2.04 provision for these salaries to be set by ordinance.

Section 2.05 Powers and Duties: The city council shall have the power to enact ordinances or resolutions, adopt rules and regulations, appoint and remove the city manager, fix all salaries, adopt the budget, control indebtedness, and the issuance of bonds, and to provide for an independent audit of any department or office. It may punish its members and others for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior in its presence, and expel for such behavior in its presence, any member by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of its members, specifying in the order of expulsion the cause thereof. It shall at least once each year hear a report from the head of each city department and division. All other powers of the city and the determination of all matters of policy, whether enumerated in this charter or not, are vested in the city council. The city council shall approve before payment, all bills, invoices and other evidences of claims, demands, or charges against the city government, and shall approve and confirm payrolls. (As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1973.)

Section 2.06 Vacancies Defined: An office, either appointive or elective, becomes vacant upon failure to qualify within the time limited by law; upon the death or removal from office or resignation of the incumbent, or removal from or absence from the city for sixty days without leave of the city council, or upon an adjudication of insanity; by a conviction of drunkenness, or by any permanent disability, preventing the proper discharge of duty; by ceasing to be a resident of the city; by conviction of an infamous crime, or any crime involving a violation of official oath; by refusal or neglect to take the oath of office, or to give or renew the official bond or deposit such oath or bond within the time prescribed by law; a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction declaring void the election or appointment; or whenever a judgment is obtained against such officer for breach of condition of the official bond.

Section 2.07 Compensation of Elective Officials During Excused Absence or When Disabled: In the event an elective official is accorded an extended excused absence or is under a disability and, therefore, is unable to perform official duties during such absence or disability, the official's salary shall not accrue, and the councilmember serving as mayor pro tempore shall receive only that portion of the salary of the mayor that the mayor would have received for services as mayor in addition to regular salary as councilmember. Likewise, during such absence or disability of a councilmember, the councilmember's salary shall not accrue, and the councilmember pro tempore, if any, shall receive the salary of the absent councilmember while performing services as councilmember.

Section 2.08 Vacancies in Council: Vacancies in the city council shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the city council, but such appointee shall hold office only until the next regular general election, at which time a person shall be elected to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. In the event of the extended excused absence or disability of a councilmember, which shall include, without limitation, the period the mayor pro tempore serves as mayor in case of a vacancy in the office of mayor, the remaining members of the city council shall have the power to appoint a councilmember pro tempore to serve during the absence or disability. (As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1979 and November 2, 1999.)

Section 2.09 Creation of New Departments or Offices; Change of Duties: The city council, by ordinance, may create, change, and abolish offices, departments, agencies, or divisions other than the offices, departments, and agencies established by this charter. The city council may assign additional functions or duties to offices, departments, or agencies established by this charter, but may not discontinue or assign to any other office, department, or agency any function or duty assigned by this charter to a particular office, department, or agency.

Section 2.10 Council Meetings; Quorum: After each biennial municipal general election, the city council shall meet for reorganization at the usual time and place on the day fixed by law for the newly elected councilmembers to assume office. Thereafter, the city council shall meet regularly at such times as its rules may prescribe, but not less often than twice each month. The city clerk shall call special meetings of the city council upon the written request of the mayor or of any two members. Any request shall state the subjects to be considered at such special meeting and no other subject shall there be acted upon. All regular meetings of the city council shall be open to the public. A majority of all the members of the city council shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may adjourn from day to day or until the time of the next regular meeting and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as the city council shall prescribe.

Section 2.11 Procedure: The city council shall determine its own rules and order of business. It shall keep a journal of its proceedings and the journal shall be open to public inspection. It shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and for such purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses and require the production of records, but the decision of the city council in any such case shall be subject to review by the courts.

Section 2.12 Ordinances, Required for Certain Purposes, Title, Enacting Clause, and How Amended: In addition to such acts of the city council as are required by statute or by this charter to be by ordinance, every act of the city council establishing a fine or other penalty or providing for the expenditure of funds or for the contracting of indebtedness or granting, renewing, or extending a franchise for any purpose shall be by ordinance. No ordinance granting a franchise shall be finally passed until thirty days have expired after its introduction; the expense incident to the enactment of such an ordinance shall be paid by the applicant; and no exclusive franchise shall be granted. When an ordinance granting a franchise is amended after it has been in force, the same provision set forth in the preceding sentence applicable to proposed ordinances granting original franchises shall apply. Every ordinance shall be clearly entitled and shall contain only one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be: "Be it ordained by the City of Vancouver." No ordinance shall be revised, re-enacted, or amended by reference to its title, but the ordinance to be revised or re-enacted or the section thereof amended shall be re-enacted at length as revised or amended.

Section 2.13 Procedure for Passage of Ordinances; First Reading: With exceptions of ordinances permitted by state law to be adopted by reference, every ordinance shall be introduced in writing in the form in which it is finally to be passed. The title of such ordinance shall be read and upon request of any person present shall be read in full; after passage on first reading, every ordinance shall be published at least once, in full or in summary form as prescribed by state law at R.C.W. 35.22.288, together with a notice of the time and place when and where it will be given a public hearing and be considered for final passage. The first publication shall be at least three days prior to the time advertised for public hearing. Copies of all such proposed ordinances shall be kept available to the public at the office of the city clerk. Provided, however, that ordinances granting a franchise shall be published in full or in summary once each week for three consecutive weeks prior to finally passing such ordinances. (As amended by vote of the people on November 7, 1967, and September 17, 1996.)

Section 2.14 Second Reading and Public Hearing: At the time and place so advertised, or at any time and place to which such hearing shall from time to time be adjourned, the title of such ordinance shall be read, or upon the request of any person present, the clerk shall read the proposed ordinance in full. All persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard on the proposed ordinance. (As amended by vote of the people on November 7, 1967.)

Section 2.15 Further Consideration; Final Passage: After such hearing, the city council may finally pass such ordinance, with or without amendment, except that if it shall make an amendment which constitutes a change of substance, it shall not finally pass the ordinance until it shall have caused the amended sections to be published at least once, together with a notice of the time and place when and where such amended ordinance will be further considered, which publication shall be at least three days prior to the time stated. At the time so advertised, or at any time and place to which such meeting shall be adjourned, the title of the amended ordinance shall be read, or upon the request of any person present, the amended ordinance shall be read in full, and a public hearing thereon shall be held and after such hearing, the governing body may finally pass such amended ordinance, or again amend it subject to the same conditions. The second passage of any ordinance pursuant to this charter shall be final and no further passage shall be required. The final passage of an ordinance requires at least a majority vote in its favor, and the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays, and entered in the public journal of city council proceedings. Every ordinance or resolution passed by the city council shall be signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk, who shall record the same. When an ordinance is put upon its final passage and fails to pass, and a motion is made to reconsider, the vote upon such motion shall not be acted upon before the next meeting of the city council. (As amended by vote of the people on November 7, 1967.)

Section 2.16 Effective Date: After final passage, every ordinance shall again be published in full, or a summary of the content thereof may be published as allowed by state law at RCW 35.22.288, and except as otherwise provided in this charter, shall be subject to permissive referendum as hereinafter provided. Every ordinance, unless it shall specify another date, shall become effective at the expiration of thirty days following final passage, or, if the ordinance be submitted at a referendum election, then it shall not become effective if a majority of the votes cast thereon are for the referendum and against the ordinance; provided, the vote cast on the referendum shall equal one-third of the total votes cast at such election and not otherwise, except as otherwise provided by this charter. (As amended by vote of the people on November 7, 1989.)

Section 2.17 (Reserved)

Section 2.18 Citizen's Commission on Mayor/City Council Salaries: There is hereby created the Vancouver Citizen's Commission on Mayor/City Council Salaries to consist of five members appointed as provided herein and to set the salary and compensation of the City Mayor and City Councilmembers.

The Commission shall consist for five members who shall be registered voters and residents of the City of Vancouver. No city officer, official, or employee or immediate family member of any City officer, official or employee shall be eligible for membership on the commission. As used in this section, "immediate family member" means parents, spouse, siblings, children or dependent relative of the officer, official or employee whether or not living in the household of the officer, official or employee.

Commission members shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval of the City Council. The first members shall be appointed by January 1, 1995.

Each commission member shall be appointed for a single four-year term of office; except that the first five members appointed to the commission shall be appointed for different terms as follows:

a. Two members to serve for periods of four years;

b. Two members to serve for periods of three years; and

c. One member to serve for a period of two years.

No member shall be removed during his or her term of office unless for cause of incapacity, incompetence, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office or for a disqualifying change of residence.

Upon a vacancy in any position on the commission a successor shall be selected and appointed to fill the unexpired term. The selection and appointment shall be concluded within 30 days of the date the position becomes vacant and shall be conducted in the same manner as for original appointments.

The commission authority and responsibility shall be as follows:

a. The commission shall study the relationship of salaries to the duties of the Mayor and City Councilmembers and shall fix a salary for each such position by an affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the commission.

b. Except as provided in this section, the commission shall be solely responsible for its own organization, operation and action and shall enjoy the fullest cooperation of all city officers, officials, departments and employees.

c. The members of the commission shall elect a chairperson from among their number every two years.

d. The commission shall file its initial schedule of salaries for the positions of Mayor and City Councilmembers with the City Clerk no later than May 1, 1995, and shall thereafter file schedules by May 1st of the applicable later years so as to coincide with the City budget cycle.

e. Each such schedule shall be filed in ordinance form, shall be assigned a chapter number, shall be published in the same manner as a City ordinance, and shall become effective thirty days after filing with the City Clerk. Such schedule shall be subject to referendum in the same manner as provided by Section 10.2 of the City Charter.

f. Signature of the chairperson of the commission shall be affixed on each schedule submitted to the City Clerk.

g. Prior to the filing of any salary schedule, the commission shall hold no fewer than two public hearings thereon within the four months immediately preceding the filing.

The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services but shall receive reasonable reimbursement for their expenses in accordance with state law and city ordinance.

It shall be the duty of all city officers, officials and employees to aid in all proper ways of carrying out the provisions of this resolution. The commission shall have access to all city books, papers, documents and accounts applying or in any way concerning the subject matter of this resolution. Staff shall be assigned to the commission to provide support for its work.

This section shall supersede 2.03 and Section 2.04 of the City Charter but only insofar as they provide for the change of the salaries of the Councilmembers and Mayor by ordinance. (Added by vote of the people on November 8, 1994.)