Have you ever wondered how Beaumont’s city government works? Who are the people that work behind the scenes to keep Beaumont running? Why the city does (or doesn’t) do things a certain way?
Stay tuned for all these answers and more in Beaumont’s digital Government 101 series beginning in January 2022 on Beaumont's Social Media! Follow along each week as we guide you through the inner workings of your local city government! Be sure to “like” our page and follow using #BeaumontGov
General Law Vs. Charter City
Did you know the City of Beaumont is considered a General Law Municipality? What does that mean?
Currently, the City of Beaumont is what is known as a General Law City. A General Law City has the authority to act locally but its acts must be consistent with the California Constitution, state statutes, and state administrative regulations. For example, in California, cities that have not adopted a charter are organized by state law. Such a city is called a General Law City, which will be managed by a 5-member city council.
Conversely, a Charter City adopts a Charter, which is a document that outlines how a city is governed. A Charter City has the additional authority to adopt laws regarding "municipal affairs" that are different from state statutes, while still being consistent with the US and California Constitutions. Municipal affairs may include the form of city government, elections, some aspects of zoning and land use, the process of contracting for public works, and the scope of authority related to taxes and assessments. A city organized under a charter may choose different systems, including the "strong mayor" or "city manager" forms of government. As of January 21, 2020, 125 of California's 478 cities are charter cities. A few examples include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San José, and the capital, Sacramento.
There are pros and cons to both forms of government, however, a city may only become a Charter City with voter approval. If you'd like to read more about this, the California League of Cities put together a document outlining the two forms of government with more detailed information, check that out here: https://www.costamesaca.gov/home/showdocument?id=6015
The Four Types of Local Government
The concept of local government is deeply rooted in our national heritage; small communities were the beginnings of the United States. Local governments can be more responsive to citizens than state and federal governments, but the limitations are that local units need the cooperation of other entities to deal effectively with bigger issues such as transportation and pollution.
There are four main types of local government:
Counties are the largest units of local government, numbering approximately 3,000 nationwide. They provide many of the same services provided by cities and oversee unincorporated areas, such as our neighbors in Cherry Valley.
Municipalities include cities, villages, and boroughs and they number about 19,000 in the United States. Often called city government, municipalities provide services such as police and fire protection, parks and recreation, streets and sewers, among others.
Most of the more than 16,000 school districts in the U.S. operate independently of city government.
More than 30,000 Special Districts nationwide are created and funded by a community’s residents to provide new or enhanced local services and infrastructure. These districts are governed by locally elected or appointed board members.
Below is a list of local special districts independent of the city:
Beaumont-Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District
Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District
Beaumont Unified School District
Let Me Speak to the Manager
Do you ever wonder who runs a city government? Beaumont, a General Law city, is run by a City Council/City Manager form of government. This form of government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager.
How are these individuals selected for their positions? During election years, the citizens of Beaumont elect members to the Beaumont City Council and the positions of City Clerk and City Treasurer. The elected city council appoints the City Manager and the City Attorney. All elected positions in Beaumont are salaried (BMC 2.08), a Deputy City Clerk and Finance Director are employed as full-time employees who support the elected positions on day-to-day activities.
Who Are Your Beaumont City Council Members?
The Beaumont City Council is comprised of five council members. The members are elected to at-large positions for four-year terms, with elections held in November of even-numbered years. The City Council meets annually to select one of its members to serve as Mayor and another to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem for one year.
The role of the Mayor is ceremonious; each of the five council members holds equal voting power on all items coming before the Council.
First Elected: November 2014 | Current Term Expires: November 2022
First Elected: November 2016 | Current Term Expires: November 2024
First Elected: November 2020 | Current Term Expires: November 2024
First Elected: November 2014 | Current Term Expires: November 2022
First Elected: November 2018 | Current Term Expires: November 2022
The City Council appoints the City Manager and City Attorney and members of all advisory boards, commissions, and committees. The City Council also serves as the Board of Directors for the Beaumont Financing Authority, Beaumont Utility Authority, Beaumont Parking Authority, and Beaumont Successor Agency.
Learn more at http://beaumontca.gov/29/City-Council
City Manager vs. Mayor
Last week we discussed the organizational structure of Beaumont’s City Council/City Manager form of government. At the top of the organizational chart are YOU - the residents of Beaumont, followed by the elected City Council and the appointed City Manager.
What is the difference between the City Manager and the Mayor?
A city manager is the hired executive officer of a municipality who works outside of the political realm. The city manager’s responsibilities include supervising the day-to-day operations of all city departments and advising the City Council on matters of interest.
A mayor is an elected leader who represents the voters in the city. The Mayor is the presiding officer at all council meetings, represents the city at public events and signs authorizations on behalf of the council.
Both officials work toward the goal of providing a variety of local government services while safeguarding taxpayers’ dollars and maintaining a policy of transparency.
For specific duties, please review the Beaumont Municipal Code:
- City Manager – BMC 2.12.060
- Mayor - BMC 2.04.120
Gov 101 - Requirements to be a City Council Member
Requirements to be a City Council Member City councils are the local legislators at the city level. Every city has a different process for electing, and retaining city council members. In Beaumont, you must meet the following three requirements to run for office:
- Be a citizen of the United States - You must be a citizen of the U.S. and you must also be a citizen of the state you are going to run in.
- Meet your city's age requirements - In Beaumont, you must be at least 18 years old to run for city council.
- Ensure you are registered to vote in the right location – If you recently moved or changed your name, be sure to update your voter registration status to your current Beaumont address.
Information on the upcoming 2022 Municipal General Election will be available at https://www.beaumontca.gov/430/Election-Central