Knowledgebase-Alteration of Mayor's Duties


Information Product

Title:Alteration of Mayor's Duties
Summary:MTAS was asked whether the city can alter the mayor's duties via charter or by personnel policies.
Original Author:Hardy, Pat
Co-Author:Hemsley, Sid
Product Create Date:10/25/2005
Last Reviewed on::06/12/2017
Subject:Mayor; Mayor--Aldermanic government; Charters--City--Tennessee; Personnel--Laws and regulations
Type:Legal Opinion
Legal Opinion: Alteration of Mayor's Duties public.doc

Reference Documents:

Text of Document:
October 25, 2005

Dear City Recorder,

You have asked about the assignment of the Mayor's duties and if these can be altered by the Town's Personnel Policies and Procedures. In order to answer these questions I have reviewed your charter and consulted with our attorney in Knoxville, Mr. Sid Hemsley.

As you know, your City is a "strong mayor" form of government, such form being codified as the Mayor-Aldermanic Charter in Tennessee Code Annotated, 6-1-101, et seq . Under this charter a town is allowed by ordinance to alter the duties of the Mayor (which in some cases will thereby change the form of government). But the charter is specific in that such alterations are to be done by ordinance, not by the adoption of supplemental documents such as a Personnel Policies and Procedures. Supplemental documents play an important role, but they are not meant to alter the fundamental duties of the Mayor.

TCA Section 6-3-106(b) states, "Unless otherwise designated by the board by ordinance the mayor shall perform the following duties or may designate a department head or department heads to perform any of the following duties: ... (2)(A) Employ, promote, discipline, suspend and discharge all employees and department heads, in accordance with personnel policies and procedures, if any, adopted by the board." It is clear from this section that the charter intends for alterations in the Mayor's duties to be undertaken by ordinance, and that supplemental personnel policies guide the manner in which personnel actions are to take place.

The supplemental Personnel Policies and Procedures are meant to describe the conditions of employment and processes of personnel administration by which the Mayor, Administrator, or whomever is designated are to operate. These normally include such items as the amount of vacation and sick leave employees receive, or the process of grievance resolution, etc. They are not meant to designate the authority to "Employ, promote, discipline, suspend and discharge." Many times you will find personnel policies that mention this authority but that is for
informational purposes only.

In summary then, it is my opinion that the authority to "Employ, promote, discipline, suspend and discharge employees... " can only be removed from the duties of the Mayor by ordinance and not by the adoption of supplemental Personnel Policies and Procedures.

I hope this answers your question. If not, or if I can provide any further information please feel free to call.


Sincerely,


Patrick Hardy
Municipal Management Consultant


cc: MTAS Attorney Sid Hemsley

Please remember that these legal opinions were written based on the facts of a given city at a certain time. The laws referenced in any opinion may have changed or may not be applicable to your city or circumstances.

Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information contained in this database.