The Role of City Council Committees
- City Council Committees are intended to enhance communication between the City Council and City staff at the early phase of the development of significant items affecting public policy questions.
- These Committees will enable City staff to obtain early feedback from representative members of the City Council on issues affecting public policy prior to their presentation, as necessary, to the full City Council.
- City Council Committee members develop and maintain a deeper level of knowledge on matters of a technical nature which might affect public policy in order to increase the positive exchange of information and discussions between City Council members, City staff, and the public.
- When appropriate, items may be considered by a City Council Committee before a final recommendation from the appropriate City Board or Commission.
- City Council Committees do not replace the City Council as final decision makers on behalf of the full City Council. Council Committees make no staff direction on administrative matters, specific assignments, or work tasks. If Committee members seek additional information from an outside party or consultant resulting in additional cost to the City, approval to incur such cost must approved by the full City Council.
- Any discussion or feedback expressed or received at a Committee meeting should not be construed or understood to be a decision by or for the City Council. Further, any recommendation the Committee may make to the City Council is based on information possessed by the Committee at the time the recommendation is made and may be revised or amended upon receipt by the Committee of additional or newer information.
Operational Guidelines and Functional Structure
- City Council Committees consist of 3 or 4 Council members and Committee chairs which shall be appointed by the Mayor as per the Charter of the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Section 2.06. Members are appointed in January of each year.
- No member of the City Council may serve on more than three Committees.
- Council Committees will schedule regular monthly meetings. The monthly meeting schedule should allow at least 10 days prior to the subsequent Council Meeting.
- All City Council Committee meeting notices will be posted and meetings will be conducted in conformance with the “Open Meetings Law” in the Iowa State Code. All agendas should include language identical or similar to: “Any discussion, feedback or recommendation by Committee member(s) should not be construed or understood to be an action or decision by or for the Cedar Rapids City Council. Further, any recommendation(s) the Committee may make to the City Council is based on information possessed by the Committee at that point in time.”
- The Council Committee chair will forward to the City Director Lead those items to be placed on the meeting agenda a minimum of one week in advance of the scheduled monthly meeting.
- The City Director Lead will coordinate with staff members the preparation of the agenda to determine whether items will be presented to a Committee or placed on the Council’s regular agenda to be considered by the full City Council. Any item may be referred to the full Council by the Committee considering that item.
- The full City Council by majority vote may refer any item on its agenda to an appropriate Committee.
- Regularly scheduled Committee meetings are intended to allow regular attendance by City Council Committee members, as well as City Director Leads, staff, and the City Manager, as necessary. In order to prevent inadvertent violations of the Iowa Open Meetings Law, attendance by non-member Council members that will result in a quorum of the full City Council is discouraged.
- The regular Council meeting agenda shall include an opportunity for Committee reports at which time any appointed Committee member may report to the Mayor and City Council on pertinent and timely issues before a Committee.
City Director Lead Role
The City Manager serves as an advisor to each City Council Committee; however, each Committee has an identified staff lead at the Director-level. The responsibilities of the City Director Lead are as follows:
- Attend all meetings of the City Council Committee.
- Research information and prepare reports and correspondence as required for the Committee.
- Provide administrative support to the Committee, including distribution of documents to the Committee as required.
- Coordinate with the Committee chair to prepare agendas.
- Schedule regular monthly meetings and provide appropriate public notification.
- Prepare Committee minutes within one week of the meeting and submit to the City Clerk for posting and distribution to the full City Council.
- Coordinate posting all Committee-related items, including agendas and minutes, on the City Website.
- Serve as the communication link between the Committee and city administration, City departments, and Council as appropriate.