Council Reorganization — What is it?

In January 2022, citizens of West Mayfield might be surprised to learn that this council meeting will be very different than all the others.

Here’s why.

Unlike cities and townships in Pennsylvania, boroughs are governed by a distinct section of state statutes called the Pennsylvania Borough Code. Title 8, Chapter 10 (“Powers and Duties of Elected Officials”) requires that “The council shall organize on the first Monday of January of each even-numbered year by electing one member as president and one member as vice president, who shall hold the offices at the pleasure of the council.”

Here’s a summary by the Association of Mayors of the Boroughs of Pennsylvania as to how this reorganization meeting works:

1) The reorganization meeting, like all Council meetings, must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation at least three days in advance of the meeting. A meeting agenda must be made in advance as well.

2) At this meeting, the mayor (having been previously sworn into office by a judge) presides over council. This is one of the rare instances under law that a borough mayor has any authority over council.

3) The mayor swears into office all new and re-elected council members.

4) The mayor then presides over council as it elects its council president and vice-president. The mayor takes nominations from council members for each position (no second is required) and then each officer position is voted on.

5) After council has selected its officers, the mayor then turns the gavel over to the new council president, council is seated, and the newly reorganized body can now conduct borough business as usual.

Read more about this special meeting in the Pennsylvania Borough Code.

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