By City Charter (Section 2-3 of the City Code), Cedar Falls uses the "Mayor-Council" form of government under Iowa Code 372.4. The city council and mayor perform duties that are authorized or required by state law and by the City Code of Ordinances, Resolutions, and rules and regulations of the City.
In Cedar Falls, seven council members are each elected to four-year staggered terms. Five members are elected to each of the city's five Wards, and two additional members are voted "at-large" by all city voters.
The City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. These civic business meetings are open to the public, and fall under the requirements of Iowa Code Chapter 21 - Open Meetings.
The mayor serves as the presiding official at meetings of the City Council, and is charged with the maintenance of good order, and facilitation of full dialogue and participation of all members. By state law, the mayor cannot vote, but can veto any council ordinance, resolution, or amendment. Meetings follow standard parliamentary procedure, with added special rules as determined by the council. The guiding directives for these meetings are:
- Robert's Rules of Order, 12th Edition
- Iowa Code Chapter 21 - Official Meetings Open to the Public
- CFD 1121: Council Meeting Procedures
- CFD 1122: Customs for Meetings of the Cedar Falls City Council
Standing Committee Meetings and Work Sessions
In addition to the first and third Monday regular council meetings, the council also holds standing committee meetings. The current standing committees (defined in Rule 6.4 of CFD 1121) are Administration; Finance & Business Operations; Public Safety; Public Works; Community Development; and Committee of the Whole.
Standing committee meetings allow the council to deliberate at length on a topic, and to provide staff with direction prior to an item appearing for final approval at a council meeting. These are public meetings that must comply with the Iowa Open Meetings Law. The chair of the committee serves as the presiding officer of that meeting. These Standing Committee meetings are held as needed, typically held on the first and third Monday prior to the regular council meeting, in the Council Chambers.
Council Work sessions are an additional venue for city council members to meet and discuss topics. Work sessions are helpful for gaining a basic understanding of a topic in a less-formal setting; no votes are taken during work sessions, but council consensus may be used to direct staff to develop proposals for council approval. These are not televised, and while the public is welcome to observe, public comment is not solicited.
Communicating with the CouncilPublic letters, phone calls, and e-mails are very helpful to the Council and the mayor for developing the city's ordinances and policies. You can reach all council members and the mayor by mail at "Council Members | 220 Clay Street | Cedar Falls, IA 50613". To call or e-mail council members individually, please visit their individual member pages. You can also fax the council members at (319) 268-5126. Please note that any of these communications will become a part of the public record.
Additionally, the public is invited to communicate with the City Council in person during regular council meetings and standing committee meetings. Public participation at these meetings is regulated by the published rules in Part 10 of CFD 1121: Council Meeting Procedures.
Ex Parte Communications Disclaimer
An ex parte communication occurs when only one side of a land use issue is presented by someone outside of an open Council meeting. To ensure an open decision-making process that is fair to everyone, all communications related to land use matters will be forwarded to the City Clerk and included as part of the packet of information provided to the Mayor and Council, and made available to the public, for the Council meeting in which the land use matter is considered.