Mayor's Filings with City Council

Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll delivering the 2016 State of the City address.
Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll delivering the 2016 State of the City address.

In her 2016 State of the City address, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll announced a new transparency initiative intended to provide even greater access to public information, improve the delivery of City services, and enhance the quality of life in Salem. One of the components of the initiative is the publication online of submissions made by the Mayor to the City Council.

Salem's City Charter establishes a Mayor as the Chief Executive of the City and a City Council as the separate legislative body. The City Council typically meets twice a month and, prior to the meeting, the Mayor will submit matters to them for Council action. These matters comprise a large part, though not all, of the regular City Council meeting agenda. Other matters on the agenda may come from Councillors themselves or as petitions from residents, businesses, and others.

Filings with the City Council normally come in one of four forms:

  1. Appointments and Reappointments name individuals to serve on a City board, committee, commission, task force, or authority. Salem has close to 40 boards, with almost 150 volunteers serving as members. City Council confirmation is required for most appointments and reappointments. The Mayor's Office publishes a weekly listing of current board vacancies. The Mayor also appoints and reappoints Constables and City department heads and certain other staffers for City Council confirmation.
  2. Council Orders are short-term directives. These include Orders appropriating or transfering money (separate from the adopted City budget), authorizing the Mayor to enter into legal agreements or contracts of certain duration, sending a petition to the state legislature for a state law, calling for a City Council committee meeting, and so forth.
  3. Ordinances are enduring City bylaws that are more permanent in nature than Orders. Ordinances include structures of City government, zoning and traffic laws, building codes, fees and rates, offenses, and so forth. Ordinances require two separate votes by the City Council in two separate meetings in order to be adopted.
  4. Resolutions are expressions of support or opposition for a particular issue, cause, individual, or other topic.

On occasion the Mayor will send other correspondence to the City Council as a formal part of their agenda. This includes informational letters providing updates about City programs or policies, recommending the tax rate, requesting to meet in Executive Session if necessary, and - each fiscal year - submitting the proposed City budget.

Filings normally include a cover letter explaning the filing, the document itself (Order, Ordinance, or Resolution), and, if necessary, background information or other materials or documents to provide additional details about the request or proposal.