The City of Laurel is dedicated to delivering excellent municipal services and public safety through participatory government that is responsive to our entire community and consistent through the fiscally responsible use of resources in a manner that promotes outstanding cultural, recreational, educational and economic opportunities for residents and businesses.
Form of Government
Mayor-Council Form of Municipal Government
The mayor-council form of government is essentially a “strong mayor” form of government made available by the legislature in 1973 and approved by the Department of Justice in August 1976. It is used in 10 municipalities in Mississippi: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Columbus, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Laurel, Meridian and Tupelo. Existing civil service laws apply in a mayor
- The governing body consists of an elected mayor and an elected council consisting of either 5, 7 or 9 members.
- Legislative authority is exercised by the council; executive power is exercised by the mayor.
- All officers and employees are appointed in the mayor-council form of government.
- The number of councilmen is determined and contained in the petition calling for the election to adopt the mayor council form of government.
- The mayor and councilmen must be qualified electors. The mayor is elected at large, while the councilmen are elected from wards.
- The councilmen must be a resident of the ward he represents.
- If a councilman moves from his ward, the vacancy is filled in the manner established by Miss. Code Ann., §23-15-857 (1972) (as amended).
- A general municipal election is held every 4 years.
Powers, Duties and Responsibilities of Elected officials:
- The mayor is charged with enforcing the charter and ordinances of the municipality, as well as applicable general laws
- The mayor is responsible for supervising all departments of municipal government and requiring them to make an annual report and requesting other reports as necessary
- The mayor appoints department heads and members of any municipal board, authority or commission, subject to confirmation by a majority of council members present and voting
- The mayor may attend all council meetings, take part in discussions, make recommendations, but he cannot vote except in case of a tie on the questions of filling a vacancy in the council
- The mayor must review ordinances, resolutions, orders and other official actions of the council
- The mayor may veto ordinances, but the veto may be overridden by 2/3 of the council present and voting
- The mayor is required to maintain an office at city hall
- The council is the legislative body and functions as such
- The council elects one member to serve as president and another to serve as vice-president
- The president (or vice-president in the president’s absence) presides over council meetings and may vote when he is presiding
- The council appoints a “clerk of the council” and any necessary deputies
- Whenever the mayor is unable to appoint a councilman to serve as acting mayor, the council may do so.
- The council may establish a department of administration and any other departments, and allocate and assign all administrative powers, functions and duties
- The mayor appoints all department heads and directors, but they are confirmed by the council
- The council is authorized to adopt an ordinance creating and setting the qualifications of chief administrative officer to be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council
- The council is empowered to:
o Set compensation
o Redistrict after every decennial census and after annexation
o Require any municipal officer to prepare and submit a sworn statement regarding his official duties
o Causing a complete audit at the end of the fiscal year
o Investigating the conduct of any department, office or agency;
o Appropriating money for the operation of government
o Overriding vetoes of council actions
o Appointing a council member to serve as acting mayor if the mayor is incapacitated
o Calling a special elect ion to fill a mayor’s unexpired term
o Requiring surety bonds for those handling public fund so Council members are not required to maintain individual offices at city hall unless the municipality’s population exceeds 190,000
o Council members have no authority to seek to dictate or require appointment or removal of a city employee
o Council members must deal with department heads through the mayor
- The council is required to hold meetings on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in July following the election of council members and at least monthly thereafter
- Special meetings can be called at any time by the mayor a majority of the members of the council
- Special meetings may be called upon written consent of the mayor and all councilmen
- A quorum of the council is a majority of members elected
- Where a quorum exists, a majority of members may adopt any motion, resolution, or ordinance unless a greater number of votes is specifically required
- All meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act