What Do City Council Members Do?
Council members serve as a governing body for some geographic regions. These professionals review and create legislatures that best serve the people who voted them into public office. If working in local government units appeal to certain individuals, they need to consider learning more about what this profession does. This article will take a closer look at what city council members do, the needed skills for this job, as well as their job outlook and average salaries.
What are council members?
These professionals are elected public officials that run boroughs, towns, cities, and other municipal legislative bodies. These people create policies to help them govern their areas of responsibilities and ensure that any new or current legislatures serve the needs of individuals who work and live there. The role has different titles and names, including:
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What does a council member do?
These professionals work together to represent their borough, city, or town, similar to how the United States Congress functions at the national level. The duties of these individuals depend on the needs of South Carolina or the area of responsibility which they serve. Some of these responsibilities include:
- Voting on laws to decide whether a motion will become a law
- Introducing new legislatures for their area of responsibility
- Approving the area’s budget
- Negotiating the area’s budget
- Monitoring agencies like public works department and the police force to make sure they are effectively serving the public
- Reviewing any usage of available lands in the city
- Deciding how to develop and grow properties
- Attending daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings
- Attending public and private special sessions, such as planning meetings
- Taking questions and comments at council meetings
- Interacting with the media to answer inquiries or questions, as well as provide necessary comments for certain stories
- Working as a member of specialized committees like parks and recreation to oversee things pertaining to city lives
- Meeting with their constituents and business owners to discuss problems
- Voting on the dismissal and hiring of government and employees, like community library workers or police officers
- Writing grants to secure resources or earn money for projects
- Setting projects and brainstorming to use resources and grant funding
- Setting agendas for all council meetings
- Approving bids and contracts for various projects in their area of responsibility
- Regulating the use of available land by modifying or creating zoning legislatures
- Representing their constituents and the community during hearings and meetings with higher local and national officials, such as at the federal or state level
- Establishing short- and long-term goals for the city and the council
- Establishing various tax rates for their area of responsibility
- Modifying the area’s charter if needed
- Borrowing money from other sources to meet the city’s needs
- Regulating safety practices and public health
- Regulating enterprise activities in the area, like issuing licenses for new companies
- Coordinating events like festivals, fairs, and parades
Skills necessary for Council members
These professionals use different interpersonal and technical skills to do their tasks most effectively and efficiently. Some vital skills for this profession include:
- Negotiating abilities
- Ability to work collaboratively and independently
- The ability to listen attentively
- Written and verbal communication
- Logical decision-making skills
- Data analysis
- Public speaking skills
- Broad knowledge of emergency best practices and public safety
- Proficiency in math, like budgeting
- Knowledge of ordinances and laws
- Knowledge of local legislative procedures
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Job outlook and salary
These professionals from South Carolina can expect to earn between $50,000 and $80,000 per year, depending on the city they are elected to. It is imperative to remember that most of their roles depend on local and state laws. Every state in the country can set its own regulations and rules about its council member’s salaries and responsibilities.
Some individuals hold this position as a voluntary job without pay, and others make a lot of money in wages—inquiries with local governments to learn salary expectations for roles in their area. For the most updated salary information, check out the Internet to find out more.
Since these professionals are elected officials, the BLS or the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide job outlook details for these roles. The number of seats available every year will depend on where they live, as well as where they want to run for office. Now seats may become vacant at the end of the current member’s tenure if a council member chooses to leave the office or retire or if the city chooses to make an ordinance to add new seats.
The work environment for members
Here are some important considerations to make when assessing the work environment for members:
Being a public servant can be a full-time job in some areas and a part-time one in others. This usually depends on the size of the municipality or city in which the councilman serves. Larger areas like Los Angeles or New York have full-time seats.
They usually work traditional business hours but may also work weekends and nights to hold events or meetings that are open to the public. Part-time public officials usually have other full-time jobs. They meet on weekends or in the evenings to talk about matters in their area.
Full-time politicians like Cam Crawford Horry Councilman in SC, report to their City Hall to work every day. They may have a shared office space or their own office from which they can do their jobs. Some may have the chance to do hybrid work. It means they can do their jobs at the City Hall some days and do it remotely other times.
Full-time members may do local travel to take part in meetings at different sites through their area of responsibility and attend important events. Part-time politicians usually meet at town halls, community centers, or borough buildings to hold important meetings or conduct business. They may also do travels to attend events and meetings, but not on a daily basis.
Most professionals dress in work attire. It means the most acceptable clothes include skirts, professional blouses, blazers, ties, and suits. Full-time workers will likely follow the dress code every day when they are working in the City Hall.
Part-time workers may follow it when attending meetings, as well as other events. These politicians may dress in business attire or casually when attending certain events, not during business hours. For instance, if they attended the opening of the city’s little league baseball game, there is a good chance they will dress in casual attire instead of their usual formal work clothes despite representing their office at the event.