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As previously indicated, El Cajon is a general law city with a popularly elected mayor and a council-manager system of government. It operates within the terms of reference described in the preceding section.


The El Cajon City Council exercises those powers described for the council-manager system of government. Its five members are elected for overlapping four-year terms with elections held in November of the even-numbered years.

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The Mayor and one Council member are elected in November of an even-numbered year and the other three Council members in the next even-numbered year. Except on City holidays, election days, and other days as specified by the City Council from time to time, meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month in two sessions commencing at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Those actions requiring advance public notice and formal public hearings are normally scheduled for the 7:00 p.m. session.


The Mayor is the presiding officer of the Council and represents the City on ceremonial occasions. Contrary to normal parliamentary procedure, the Mayor may debate and introduce motions from the chair and vote as a member of the Council. The Mayor rules on points of order, prescribes time limits on debate, and ensures observance of proper decorum on Council procedures. However, the Mayor may be overruled on specific points by the other Council members. In April of 1968, the electorate voted to designate the Mayor for a four-year term by direct election. Previously, the Council had elected one of its members to serve as mayor for a one-year term.


Annually, on the 2nd Tuesday in December, the Council meets to select one of its members as Mayor Pro-Tempore for the next twelve months. In the absence of the Mayor from any official function, the Mayor Pro-Tempore exercises the full powers and duties of that office.

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