City Government: City
City Charter The City of San Luis Obispo is
a Charter City. This means we have more local home rule authority than cities
who incorporate under the general laws of the State of California. The
is the Citys Constitution, and any changes must be approved by the
voters. While the City was first incorporated in 1856, we did not become a Charter City
until 1876. The Citys Charter has been amended several times since its adoption. It
was last comprehensively updated in 1955, and the most recent amendments were approved by
the voters in November of 1996,with amendments adopted through August
Government As set forth in the City Charter, our City operates under
the Council-Mayor-Administrative Officer form of government. The City Council
has the authority to make and enforce all laws and regulations with respect to municipal
affairs, subject only to the limitations of the City Charter and the State Constitution.
Officers The elected officers of the City are the Mayor and four Council Members. Council Members are elected
at-large and serve overlapping, four-year terms. The Mayor is also elected at-large for a
two year term, and serves as an equal member of the Council. These terms provide for three
vacancies at each City election, which is held in November of even-numbered years. Terms
begin on the first day in December following the election.
Officials The Council appoints the City Manager
and the City Attorney. All other department heads are appointed by the City
Manager. Click here for
a Directory of City Officials, or here to see our Organization Chart.
Note: Under the City Charter, the
Council also appoints the City Treasurer and the City Clerk. However, the Charter allows
for these positions to be combined with other positions. The Council has authorized the
City Manager to make these appointments. The Director of Finance serves as the City Treasurer, and
the City Clerks Office is a separate City department.