Frequently Asked Questions
What are the duties of the City Clerk?
The duties of the Clerk include the administration of City elections; technical support of the City Council, including the preparation and distribution of agendas of Council meetings and agenda items as required by applicable statutes; the administration and maintenance of all official records of the City, the custody of which is not provided for in the Charter or by ordinances of the City, including records of all proceedings of the Council (minutes) and its ordinances and resolutions; the administration of a City-wide Records Management Program to include retention schedules, inactive records storage, vital records, imaging, archives, and other components as provided for by ordinance or resolution or the Council; and any other duties as may be established by ordinance or a resolution of the Council.
The City Charter of 1931 established the Council-Manager form of government in San Diego. On January 1, 2006, the City of San Diego's system of government changed from a City Manager form to a Strong Mayor form for a five-year trial basis, approved by city voters in November 2004. In June 2010, the voters elected to make the change permanent.
Under "Strong Mayor," the Mayor is the City's chief executive officer, similar to the governor or the president. The Council is the legislative body, providing checks and balances to the Mayor's authority. The City Clerk, appointed by Council, also serves as Clerk to the Council.
How can I find out what the City Council will be discussing?
You may access the Council Docket on-line for upcoming City Council meetings. This information is posted on Wednesday prior to the Monday and Tuesday meetings. Additional “supplemental” items for the Monday meeting are posted on the morning of the meeting, but are available on line by 2:00 p.m. on the preceding Friday. Supplemental items for the Tuesday meeting are available online by 5:00 p.m. on the preceding Friday. Also available from the City Clerk's Office are free copies of a public summary sheet which captures items docketed for discussion as well as redevelopment and housing items at the upcoming Council meeting.
In addition to the docket being made available online, members of the public may also have the docket e-mailed to them. To be added to the e-mail list, call (619) 533-4010.
You may also watch our televised docket summary, which airs on CityTV from Friday evening through the weekend preceding the Council meeting, and provides a list of docket items with a brief description.
When and where are the City Council meetings?
The City Council meets on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.; once every two months, the City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. The meetings are held on the 12th floor of the City Administration Building, 202 "C" Street in downtown San Diego. Additionally, Council meetings may also be held in the community when a particular item warrants it. You may listen in on the Council sessions or Council standing committee meetings by calling (619) 533-4001, the City Clerk's "Dial a Council" phone line. If you are a resident of Rancho Bernardo or Rancho Penasquitos, you may call (858) 484-7711 and ask the Citizen's Assistance operator to connect you to Dial-A-Council.
How can I speak in front of the City Council? Do I need to fill out a form?
Members of the public can speak in front of the City Council in a variety of ways.
Comment on a Docketed Item: Members of the public who wish to speak on a docketed item must fill out a speaker slip. Both "in favor" and "in opposition" slips are available in the rear of Council Chambers and in the lobby just outside Chambers before each meeting, or can be obtained at the City Clerk's office (202 C Street, 2nd Floor). Speaker slips should be submitted to the City Clerk prior to the start of the City Council meeting in the tray marked "Speaker Slips" located on the podium at the front of Council Chambers to the right of the public speaker’s microphones. Time allotted to each speaker is determined by the Chair and, in general, is limited to three (3) minutes per speaker per item. Testimony by all those present in support or opposition may be limited to no more than fifteen (15) minutes total per side.
Non-Agenda Public Comment: Members of the public may also address the City Council as part of "Non-Agenda Public Comment," which occurs during regularly scheduled City Council meetings held on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m., and is limited to issues which are under the Council’s jurisdiction but are not docketed as part of that week’s City Council meeting. Comments are limited to no more than three (3) minutes total per subject, regardless of the number of individuals who fill out speaker slips on that same subject. Because of open meeting laws, Council may not discuss or act on any issue brought forth under "Non-Agenda Public Comment," although the issue may be referred to the appropriate staff. Please note: During those weeks when City Council meetings are scheduled to be held at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, Non-Agenda Public Comment will be held at the 6:00 p.m. meeting and will not take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Please also note: Non-Agenda Public Comment will NOT be heard during Special Meetings of the City Council.
Closed Session: Members of the public may also speak to items docketed for Closed Session of the City Council. Comments will be taken when the docketed items are read into the record by the Council President prior to the Council adjourning into Closed Session. Time alloted to each speaker is determined by the Chair and, in general, is limited to three (3) minutes per speaker per item.
How can I get a copy of the Closed Session agenda?
The Closed Session agenda is available on the City Website on the Wednesday morning prior to the City Council meeting. Copies of the Closed Session agenda are also available in the City Clerk's Office.
Can I speak at the City Council’s Closed Session meeting?
By State law, Closed Session meetings are not open to the public. However, members of the public can testify to a Closed Session item in the open-session City Council meeting prior to the Closed Session meeting. "Closed Session speaker slips" are available in the Council Chambers and should be submitted to the City Clerk prior to the start of the City Council meeting.
Where can I obtain a Resolution or Ordinance?
Many City Council and City Agency Resolutions and Ordinances are available on-line. Copies of resolutions and ordinances approved by the City Council are available at the City Clerk's office. Call the Public Information Section at (619) 533-4000 or come to the City Clerk's office to obtain copies. Copies are 25 cents per page.
Are the Council meetings televised?
Monday afternoon Council meetings are televised "live" on Monday at 2:00 p.m. (Cox Cable 24, Time Warner Cable 24) and are re-televised at 7:00 p.m. on Monday evenings. The Tuesday Council meetings are televised "live" on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. (Cox Cable 24, Time Warner Cable 24) and re-televised at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. The bi-monthly 6:00 p.m. Council meetings are also televised "live" at 6:00 p.m. For more information, view the CityTV Program Schedule (PDF).
There may be alternative televised schedules for those areas outside the City's boundaries.
Where can I obtain an audio tape, CD or DVD of today’s Council meeting?
Audio tapes and CDs are available to listen to in the City Clerk’s office, or they may be purchased. Cost will vary depending on the specific request. Contact the Public Information Section at (619) 533-4000 for more information.
To purchase a CD or DVD copy of a Council meeting, contact the Cable TV Office at (619) 533-4784 or order on-line. Archived video of Council meetings are also available for viewing on the City’s Web site.
Can I watch Council meetings and Council Committee meetings on the Web?
Yes. Live and archived video of Council meetings dating back 2004 and Council Committee meetings (date-availability varies by committee) can be viewed on-line from the City’s Webcasting Web page.
What are the standing Council Committees?
Legislative matters are often discussed by a standing Council Committee prior to placement on the City Council Docket. There are six such committees, with five Councilmembers serving on each. Each committee focuses on a different subject area as reflected by their names: Rules, Open Government, and Intergovernmental Relations (Rules); Land Use and Housing (LU&H); Public Safety and Neighborhood Services (PS&NS); Natural Resources and Culture (NRC); Budget and Finance; and Audit. For more information about the members of these committees and their meeting times see Council Committees.
Where can I get the agenda for one of the standing Council Committee Meetings?
The Council Committee agendas and actions are available on-line, or from the City Clerk's Office. Call the Public Information Section at (619) 533-4000 or come to the City Clerk's office to obtain copies. Subscriptions to the agendas are also available from the Committee Consultants' secretary. Call (619) 533-3984 for more information.
How can I find out what happened at the City Council meeting?
The results of the City Council meetings are posted online within 48 hours of the completion of the Monday and Tuesday sessions. They are also available by calling the Information Services section of the Office of the City Clerk at (619) 533-4000. The results of the Monday afternoon Council meetings are available on the Tuesday morning following the meeting. The minutes of the City Council meetings are generally available online within four to six weeks after the meeting. Video archives of Council Meetings dating back to 2004 are also available for viewing.