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San Jose Government
 
 
 

San Jose is a charter city under California law, giving it the power to enact local ordinances that may conflict with state law, within the limits provided by the charter. The city has a mayor council government with a city manager nominated by the mayor and elected by the city council.

The San Jose City Council is made up of 10 council members elected by districts, and a mayor elected in an at-large election. During city council meetings, the mayor presides, and all 11 members can vote on any issue. The mayor has no veto powers. Council members and the mayor are elected to four-year terms; the even-numbered district council members beginning in 1994; the mayor and the odd-numbered district council members beginning in 1996. Council members and the mayor are limited to two successive terms in office, although a council member that has reached the term limit can be elected mayor, and vice versa. The council elects a vice-mayor from the members of the council at the second meeting of the year following a council election. This council member acts as mayor during the temporary absence of the mayor, but does not succeed to the mayor's office upon a vacancy.

The city manager is the chief administrative officer of the city, and must present an annual budget for approval by the city council. When the office is vacant, the mayor proposes a candidate for city manager, subject to council approval. The council appoints the manager for an indefinite term, and may at any time remove the manager, or the electorate may remove the manager through a recall election. Other city officers appointed by the council are the city attorney, city auditor, city clerk, and independent police auditor.

Like all California cities except San Francisco, both the levels and the boundaries of what the city government controls is determined by the local county Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The goal of a LAFCO is to try to avoid uncontrolled urban sprawl. The Santa Clara County LAFCO has set boundaries of San Jose's "Sphere of Influence" as a superset of the actual city limits, plus parts of the surrounding unincorporated county land, where San Jose can, for example, prevent development of fringe areas to concentrate city growth closer to the city's core. The LAFCO also defines a subset of the Sphere as an 'Urban Service Area', effectively limiting development to areas where urban infrastructure (sewers, electrical service, etc.) already exists.

 

 
 

 



 


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