The City Council is the basic unit of authority in our municipal government because it levies taxes, appropriates money and makes decisions on policy matters. The Council is the legislative body of the City and adopts resolutions and ordinances within the framework of the latitude given it by State law. It is the council which possesses this authority, not the individual Alderman. They must act as a group for a decision to be legally enforceable. Aldermen in Darien represent one of the City's seven wards. To view a map of the seven wards, click here. Each ward has one Alderman. To view a list of the Alderman, click here. All seven Aldermen are elected at the same time to serve four year terms. The qualifications to be an Alderman are the same as those for Mayor.
The City Council has the following statutory duties:
- The City Council shall be the sole judge of the election to office of the Aldermen and also shall be the sole judge whether Aldermen are eligible to hold their offices (subject to some restrictions in statutes related to court proceedings).
- The City Council shall determine its own rules of proceeding and punish its members for disorderly conduct.
- The City Council shall approve all ordinances, resolutions or motions, as well as most mayoral appointments.
The principal purpose of the Council is to create the laws by which the City operates, which are called ordinances. The authority of the Council to enact ordinances is closely restricted by state law. While these restrictions bear absolutely no relationship to logic or the needs of the citizenry, it is necessary to keep them in mind in the Council's decision making. The Council also has control over the raising of revenue and the spending of all funds that come to the City.
In Darien, the Council has chosen to do much of its preparatory work through committees composed of three of the seven Aldermen. These standing committees, appointed by the Mayor, will review and recommend on issues before they reach the full Council for consideration. This approach allows such a review to be conducted in an informal and thorough manner not always allowed in a formal meeting of the City Council. A member of the staff is assigned to support each of the committees in their work. Presently, the Council has the following standing committees (with staff assignments):
- Administrative/Finance (City Administrator)
- Planning/Development (Community Development Director)
- Municipal Services (City Administrator)
Special committees may be appointed at any time by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council to consider any special problem not already assigned to a standing committee.