Election Notices & Results
When the mayor is temporarily unable to perform his or her duties because of illness, out-of-town travel, or similar reason, the mayor pro tem assumes the responsibilities of the office on an interim basis.
But if a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of mayor as a result of death, disability, resignation or some other reason, the vacancy must be filled according to prescribed procedures.
A vacancy in the office of mayor or council members may be filled by:
Appointment by the City Council, with the Mayor having a vote only in the case of a tie, or the City Council may call a special election to fill the vacancy. A person servicing as a City Council member may not vote on his own appointment.
In a type A general law municipality operating under the Aldermanic Form of Government, the vacancy can be filled either by appointment of the City Council or by a special election if the Mayor’s Office is the only one vacant. However, if another vacancy exist on the Board of Aldermen when the Mayor’s Office is vacant, both vacancies must be filled at a special election. When a vacancy is filled by appointment, the term of the person appointed expires at the next general municipal election. When a vacancy is filled by special election, the person elected serves out the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy being filled.
(Section 22.010 Local Government Code.)
Qualifications of Office
In type A general law municipalities, every candidate for the office of mayor must meet the following qualifications:
Roles and Responsibilities of Councilmember
All members of the City Council play special roles in making the city government operate effectively. Many of their functions are set by law, while others are established as a matter of local custom. Understanding how all of these roles and responsibilities interrelate is the first step toward effective service as a mayor or councilmember.
Office of the Mayor
The Mayor occupies the highest elective office in the municipal government. As political head of the city, the Mayor is expected to provide the leadership necessary to keep it moving in the proper direction.
Except under the City Manager Plan of Government, the Mayor is the city’s Chief Executive Officer. Just as the Governor serves as Chief Executive of the State. The Mayor presides over council meetings, is the signatory for the city, and is generally recognized as the ceremonial and governmental head of the city for most purposes.
Most of the powers exercised by the Mayor are created through ordinances and resolutions adopted by the City Council. Very few mayoral powers are prescribed by State Law.
The Mayor’s most important duty is to carry out the legislative responsibilities he or she shares with other members of the council-identifying the need of the city, developing programs to satisfy those needs, and evaluating the extent to which municipal services satisfactorily reflect the policy goals of the council.
Under the law, the mayor is the presiding officer of the city council. In the capacity as presiding officer, the mayor’s actual power in legislative matters can be greater than those of other councilmembers. For example, the mayor can influence the flow of debate through the power to recognize councilmembers for motions or statement. Also, the mayor rules on questions of procedure at council meetings, and those rulings are binding unless successfully challenged by a majority of the governing body. Finally, the mayor can object to ordinances and other resolutions passed by the council. If the mayor objects to an ordinance or resolution before the fourth day after it is placed in the City Secretary’s office, it must be reconsidered by the governing body. If approved, it becomes effective.
Appointive powers represent another area in which the mayor’s powers often outrank those of council members, especially when the mayor is authorized by ordinance to appoint department heads and advisory board members. In council-manager cities, the mayor’s appointive powers are more limited, because the city manager may appoint all or most administrative employees. Although most of the mayor’s appointive powers are established by ordinances enacted by the city council, some are established by state law.
Law Enforcement and Related Duties of the Mayor
The office of the mayor involves a variety of law enforcement responsibilities. The mayor is specifically obligated by law to “actively ensure that the laws and ordinances of the municipality are properly carried out,” and “in the event of a riot or unlawful assembly or to preserve the peace,” the mayor may order the closing of certain public places
Under extreme circumstances, as in the case of riot, the mayor of a Type A General Law Municipality can summon a special police force into service (Section 341.011 Local Government Code) or call for assistance from the Texas National Guard. Also, if the city has used the provisions of Sections 362.001 ET.SEQ., Local Government Code, to enter into a mutual law enforcement pact with other nearby cities or the county, the mayor can call on those localities for help in dealing with civil disorders and other emergencies. Additionally, most municipal civil defense plans authorize the mayor to exercise Supreme powers in case of a public calamity, after the council has declared a State of Emergency.