The number of representatives, or seats, is taken from the total set by each city charter, whether or not all the seats were occupied as of Dec. 31, 2010, the end date of this study. These representatives include mayors in Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose, where they are also council members.
For racial, ethnic and gender proportions, calculation of shares of council seats are based only on filled council seats as of Dec. 31, 2010; Baltimore, Boston and Chicago had vacant seats. Calculations of shares of city populations are based on proportions found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2009, U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates 2009, council officials, and council rosters in each city as of Dec. 31, 2010.
Average salaries are calculated from each member’s authorized base salary, plus additions for committee or leadership positions, in the last fiscal year available. The amounts exclude any furloughs, donated pay, auto stipends or outside income. Salaries for the elected mayors of Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose are not included. While they are council members, they have distinct status and a different set of responsibilities than other council members.
All budget figures are based on departmental budgets plus and employee benefit costs (health insurance, workers compensation and pension contributions) in fiscal 2011 for every city except Philadelphia, where the last available benefit costs were from fiscal 2010, and Pittsburgh, where the last available benefit costs and departmental budgets were from fiscal 2009–2010. Budget figures for Dallas and San Antonio include the mayors’ offices, which are reported as part of combined mayor/council budgets.
Budget per seat is based on council budget divided by the number of council seats, whether or not filled.
Budget per resident is based on council budget divided by the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 population estimate, the last year available.
Budget as percentage of total city budget is the council budget divided by the city’s adopted general fund or equivalent operating fund.
Number of employees, including elected members, is the authorized full-time equivalent (FTE) count in any city office or committee that exclusively reports to and serves the city council, whether or not all positions were filled. Number of employees in Dallas and San Antonio includes those in the mayors’ offices, which are reported as part of combined mayor/council budgets.
Number of residents per employee is the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 population estimate divided by the council’s FTE count.
Sources: Published adopted budgets, budget officials, U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates 2009, Chicago’s Better Government Association, and the New York Citizens Union.
Tenure is calculated as of Dec. 31, 2010 from the date of each member’s first election or interim appointment. Tenure includes any earlier terms for “second-time” members who returned to office after a gap in time. Calculations include the mayors of Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose, who are members of their city councils.
Estimated population by council district is the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 population estimate divided by the number of district council seats (excluding at-large seats), whether or not filled. This is the figure that will be recalculated as part of redistricting in 2011.
Type of seat include those held by mayors in Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose, where they are also at-large council members. Five other cities had zero at-large seats. During 2011, Detroit is required to draft a plan for converting its council from at-large seats to district seats. In early 2011, Houston began a process of increasing its district seats from nine to 11.
Party makeup is based on the official party registration of council members in the last municipal election. In seven cities, elections are officially non-partisan. Philadelphia and Washington each has a rule guaranteeing at least two council seats for minority party candidates.
Newcomers include all members, whether elected or appointed, who had served less than a full term at the end of 2010. First-term members only include those serving in council for the first time and exclude “second-time” members returning to office after a gap in service. Calculations include the mayors in Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose, who are members of their city councils.
Sources: Council Web sites, city election boards and calendars, and news clips.
Perks and Ethics.
The number of summer weeks without scheduled council is based on official council calendars, and may or may not include official recesses or adjournments. During these periods, council members may or may not be working or taking vacations.
The number of elected or appointed members indicted or convicted in the past 10 years pertains to members who were convicted of major offenses or were facing open indictments at the end of 2010. It excludes members who had been cleared or had charges dismissed or overturned, and excludes lesser violations of ethics or election rules involving only administrative fines.
Availability of financial disclosure statements pertains only to documents or forms downloadable or visible over the Internet, and does not include online applications forms, reference phone numbers or addresses for obtaining the documents elsewhere.
Cars for members at city expense are typically city-owned or -leased cars. They exclude personal cars paid for with auto stipends, expense reimbursements, or shared leasing arrangements.
Sources: Council officials, council Web sites, prosecutors’ statements and news clips.