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Council-Manager Governance

Salem operates under the council-manager form of city government. The Mayor and the City Councilors are elected by the citizens and they develop the policies that will direct the operation of the city. The Mayor and Council hire the City Manager to implement their policy direction and manage the operations of the city. The City Charter provides the authority under which the City operates and outlines the roles of the Mayor, Council, and City Manager. The Charter is the equivalent of the constitution for the City. The Charter establishes the form of government for Salem and the powers of that government. Salem Revised Codes establish rules for governance and land use regulations.

Salem's Mayor and City Council

City Council consists of the Mayor and eight City Councilors, each representing one of the eight designated Wards of the City. The registered voters in each Ward elected a Councilor, who resides in the Ward, to represent them on the Council. The term of office for each Councilor is four years, with half of the Councilors standing for election every two years. The Mayor stands for election in all eight wards of the City and serves a two year term. The Wards are as equal in population as possible and may be adjusted every ten years when the census data become available. Each member of Council, including the Mayor, has one vote.

City Council Meetings

City Council meetings are on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 PM. Open to the public, the meetings are held in the City Council Chambers, Room 240, Vern Miller Civic Center, 555 Liberty St. SE. The annual Council Calendar shows all of the dates reserved for Council, Urban Renewal, and Housing Authority meetings for the current calendar year. The Meetings of Interest Calendar shows all public meetings, including those of advisory Boards and Commissions to the Council. Watch the Council meetings live on CCTV, Channel 21, with replays during the week, or stream the meeting live or in archive form online.

Opening the current agenda provides access to the reports on the agenda. Archived agendas, reports, and minutes from meetings prior to January 2006, may be obtained from the City Recorder's Office.

How Council Works

There are several resources available to learn more about how Council works, look into the Council Policy Manual and Council Rules.

Council's Goals and Major Projects

The Council presents its priorities for our community in its Council Goals. Progress reports are prepared semi-annually. Active construction projects are approved by Council and/or the Urban Renewal Agency Board.

Council's Other Roles

The Council also serves as the governing board for the City of Salem's Urban Renewal Agency and Salem Housing Authority.

  • Urban Renewal Agency: In Salem, the Urban Renewal Agency Board is constituted by the Mayor and City Council, with the Mayor acting as Chair. The City Manager serves as the Executive Director of the Urban Renewal Agency. Staff support is provided by the Urban Development Department through an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Salem. The Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Salem is a separate municipal corporation responsible for governing Salem's urban renewal areas. The meetings are conducted under Agency Rules. Learn more about Urban Renewal.
  • Salem Housing Authority Commission: The Commission approves Salem Housing Authority actions related to matters of policy in program operation, housing development, and resident services. In Salem, the Housing Authority Commission is constituted by the Mayor and City Council. The nine-member board includes a Chair and resident representative. The City Manager serves as the Executive Director of the Salem Housing Authority. Staff support is provided by the Salem Housing Authority. The Salem Housing Authority is a separate municipal corporation responsible for administering housing assistance to low and moderate income households in Salem. The meetings are conducted under the Salem Housing Authority's bylaws.
  • Budget Committee: Nine residents join the Mayor and City Council to recommend a budget for the City, on an annual basis. The group begins its work each April, looking carefully at the City's estimates for revenue, and costs of services and capital projects to develop a recommendation to Council on the half billion dollar budget to cover the period from July 1 through June 30 of the next year.
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