Cleveland City Council is an elected body responsible for writing and enacting City laws, known as ordinances. Ordinances govern the actions, responsibilities and tax dollars of residents, businesses, organizations, government offices and visitors in Cleveland. Ordinances can be written and passed to address issues about housing, safety, public services, employment, the City budget and economic development. Many ordinances permit the City to spend money on projects that support the mission of the City of Cleveland.
Who writes legislation?
Council Members and the Mayor can both write and submit legislation. Directors of departments within the City can also ask Council Members to submit legislation on behalf of that department.
Directors of the City departments can request an ordinance be sponsored on their behalf.
What is the legislative process?
Legislation is prepared for introduction and first reading by the Council Clerk at a council meeting and is read into The City Record. An ordinance can be passed “under suspension" when two-thirds of Council Members vote to suspend the Rules of Council so that an ordinance or resolution can be passed or adopted on the First or Second Reading, rather than the Third.
If not passed under suspension, it is then sent to the appropriate City departments for review.
After departmental review, the ordinance is returned to Council to be placed on the legislative calendar for discussion by the appropriate Council Committees. Council Members and City departments can request that changes, or amendments, be made to the ordinance.
After the review is complete and any amendments have been made, it is returned to the City Clerk for the Second Reading at a Council meeting. A second reading means the ordinance is read into The City Record again at a Council meeting with any approved amendments. A Second Reading allows Council Members and the public to hear what changes have been made to the law and gives Council Members and others a chance to respond to the changes.
After the Second Reading, it is then scheduled for Third and final Reading and consideration for passage. A simple majority is needed to pass the ordinance. The ordinance is signed by the President of Council, the City Clerk and the Mayor. Ordinances become law 40 days after passage.
The Mayor does have the power to veto an ordinance. However, Council must reconsider any veto by the Mayor; and, if two-thirds of the Council Members vote to override the Mayor’s veto, then the law is approved.
The Order of Proceedings at a Council Meeting
- Roll Call
- Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
- Condolence Resolutions and Congratulatory Resolutions
- First Reading Ordinances and Resolutions
- Second Reading Ordinances and Resolutions
- Third Reading Ordinances and Resolutions
The City Record is the official record of the City and contains the official proceedings of Cleveland City Council. The City Record lists legislation introduced and/or passed, resolutions introduced and/or adopted, resolutions & communications received by Council. It also lists the legal advertising of the City or invitations to bid, the Board of Control minutes, and public notices.
Resolutions announce the position of Council regarding a particular issue.
Resolutions & scrolls announce superior recognition of dignitaries and community members and/or accomplishments.
President of Council is a Council Member elected by their peers to preside at meetings of the Council and to perform other appropriate duties.
City Clerk/Clerk of Council: The chief administrative officer of the Council of the City of Cleveland responsible for the daily operations of the office of the Council and all records of the Council.
Ordinance is a law.
Resolution is a formal statement of a decision or the expression of the opinion of Council regarding a particular event, issue or person.Back to top