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Your City Council

Your City Council

The Office of the City Clerk has put together a pamphlet to help explain our City Government to its citizens.

The City of Newport News is administered by a Council-Manager form of government in which six citizens are elected from three districts—North, Central, and South—to serve on the City Council. The Mayor is elected-at-large. The City Council establishes the City's public policy through resolutions and ordinances, approves proposed programs, and controls the funding of these programs. City Council is guided by the City Charter; as adopted and approved by the Virginia General Assembly, and by its own rules of procedure, resolutions and ordinances. City Council makes decisions after obtaining input from citizens and staff.

The City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk are appointed by the City Council and department heads are appointed by the City Manager. As chief administrative officer of the City, the City Manager oversees the work of all City departments and offices and administers the policies established by City Council.

The City of Newport News obtained its present Charter from the Virginia General Assembly effective July 1, 1958, as a result of the consolidation of the Cities of Newport News and Warwick. Originally incorporated in 1896, with a population of 9,000, Newport News grew so rapidly that it became a city without passing through the village or town stage. The City was governed by a Bicameral Common Council, then a Board of Alderman, and in 1920, the present Council-Manager form of government was established.

The Newport News City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m.

At least four of the seven Council members must be present to constitute a quorum before the official business meeting is called to order. The Mayor, or in his absence the Vice Mayor, presides at each meeting.

The business to be considered is itemized on an agenda that can be obtained from the City of Newport News' website, local public libraries, and on City Channel 48 beginning on the Friday before the Council meeting.

If you have an interest in any agenda item and want to address City Council during the regular City Council meeting, simply fill out a speaker's card with your name and address, indicating the time on which you wish to speak. If possible, the card should be given to the City Clerk prior to the meeting. Speaker cards are available at the door of the City Council Chambers before and during the meeting. The Mayor recognizes speakers at the appropriate time during the agenda. You may also address City Council on other topics during the agenda section entitled Citizen Comments on Matters Germane to the business of City Council by turning in a speaker's card.

Council meetings are held in the City Council Chambers located behind City Hall at 2400 Washington Avenue, unless otherwise announced. City Council meetings are cablecast on City Channel 48. The City Council also holds work sessions at which staff presentations and in-depth discussion of issues take place. Work sessions are open to the public and are usually held on the afternoon of each Council meeting day in the City Council Conference Room on the 10th floor of City Hall.

No ordinance, resolution, motion or vote can be adopted by the City Council except at a meeting open to the public.

Citizens are encouraged to attend City Council meetings and work sessions as a way to actively participate in the process of government. If you have questions about City Council meetings, please call (757) 926-8618.

To vote in Virginia, you must be a United States citizen, a resident of Virginia, 18 years old by election day, and registered to vote. Voting registration laws are uniform throughout the state. An absentee ballot may be available prior to each election for those who will be out of the area on election day.

Citizens may obtain a voter registration application or request an absentee ballot by calling the Voter Registrar's Office at (757) 926-8683 or by visiting the office on the 6th floor in City Hall. Citizens may also register to vote at Newport News public libraries.

City Council elections are held in even numbered years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in May. Any person who is at least 18 years old, a United State citizen, and a resident of Newport News, is eligible to be a candidate for election. The Mayor and other members of City Council are elected by the voters for four-year terms. Terms are staggered to avoid a complete changeover of City Council. The Mayor is elected at large, meaning all registered voters may vote for a candidate running for that office. The Vice Mayor is elected by a majority vote of City Council members every two years.

City Council members are elected by voters according to a District System. The City is divided into three sections—North, Central, and South Districts. Citizens vote for those candidates who are running for office in their district, as well as the office of Mayor. They may also cast write-in ballots.

The persons elected to City Council take office on July 1 following the election.

Rather have a printed copy of this publication? One is available upon request by calling (757) 926-8634 or e-mailing

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