Council – Manager Form of Government
Montclair Township operates under the Optional Municipal Charter Law (OMCL) popularly known as the Faulkner Act. The OMCL provides for several forms of government. and in 1980 the Township voted to adopt the “council-manager” plan.
In the council-manager plan there is only one directly elected power center: the council. The manager, while chief executive and administrative officer of the municipality, is appointed by the council and can be suspended and removed by a majority vote of the council. The manager’s function is to carry out the will of the council.
Council members in the council-manager plan serve a four-year term. In Montclair, council members serve concurrent terms and all terms expire at the same time (except for vacancies). The power and function of the council in the council-manager plan is -- all powers of the municipality and the determination of all matters of policy shall be vested in the municipal council, except as otherwise provided by this act, or by general law. The council-manager plan is a legislative supremacy, and thus the setting of policy is the responsibility of the council alone.
The mayor in the Council-Manager Plan is a member of the council. There are two options for electing the mayor under the council-manager plan: by the council or by the voters. In Montclair the mayor is elected by the voters and serves a four-year term.
But regardless of how the mayor is chosen under the council-manager plan, his/her duties are exactly the same: he/she presides over the council and, as a member, has a voice and vote in its proceedings. Aside from the power to appoint the trustees of the public library, the historic preservation commissioners and the members of the board of education in council-manager communities which have appointed boards, the mayor in the council-manager plan has no executive powers; he is simply the primus inter pares, the first among equals on the council.
Regular Council Meetings are held in the Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue, Montclair, NJ. Executive Sessions are scheduled as required. The Council may conduct public business and take action at all Council Meetings if necessary.