The City of Santa Cruz operates under a Council-Manager form of government. In this system the City Council is the legislative and policy-making body of city government. It sets city policy by passing ordinances and resolutions. The Council determines the city budget, appoints and removes certain appointive officials, and generally oversees city functions.
Election and Terms of Office:
The City Council is composed of six Councilmembers and a Mayor. They are elected at large by city voters and are directly responsible to the people. General municipal elections take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years. Four Councilmembers are elected at one municipal election, and three Councilmembers at the next.
The term of office for a Councilmember is four years and a Councilmember may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. If a Councilmember does not finish his/her term, the Council can either appoint a registered qualified voter to fill the vacancy until the next general municipal election or call a special election. If a special election is called, the person selected will serve the remainder of the unexpired term.
Each year, the Council elects one of its members to serve as Mayor for a one-year term. The Mayor presides at all Council Meetings and is recognized as the head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes.