Salt Lake City

City Council

801-535-7600 | council.comments@slcgov.com

FAQ: How a Vacant Seat is Filled on the Council

The following Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared should a Council seat become vacant. The information also includes insight of Council Member duties and time necessary for meetings.

Why would a City Council seat be vacated?

 A City Council seat can be vacated for legal reasons, such as a council member’s relocation outside of the district, death, or judicial removal. A City Council seat can also be vacated by resignation for personal or professional reasons.

How does a Council Member vacate their position?

A City Council Member may vacate their position by providing a letter of resignation to the City Recorder and the City Council. The City Council has 30 days after the occurrence of a vacancy to fill the position for the remainder of the term.

What are the requirements to apply for the vacated City Council seat?

An applicant:

  • Must be registered to vote.
  • Must reside in the Council district being vacated for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before the date of the appointment.
  • Under the Utah Constitution, certain individuals (mentally incompetent, convicted of a felony, convicted of treason or a crime against the elective franchise) may not hold office until the right to hold elective office is restored under Utah law.
  • May not be employed by Salt Lake City if selected for the vacancy.

How does the City Council fill a vacancy?

  • The City Council cannot meet to fill a vacancy until at least 14 days after the City advertises the position.
  • Application forms will be available at the City Recorder’s Office and on the Recorder’s website.
  • Application must be received within the application window stated on the application form. Sign up to be notified when the application window is identified.
  • The Council interviews applicants during an open City Council meeting.
  • The City Council selects, by majority vote, an applicant to fill the vacancy.
  • The chosen applicant is sworn in by the City Recorder.

What happens at the end of the term?


If the appointed Council Member wishes to seek election at the end of the term, they must run in the next election cycle for the respective district, in accordance with campaign requirements.

How many Council staff members support the City Council?

Council Members generally hold full-time employment in addition to their employment as a member of the City Council. A staff of 25 full and part-time employees supports the Council in its legislative role. Staff assists with a variety of Council Member duties such as meeting scheduling, constituent issues, communication outreach, policy research, the City’s budget, and newsletters, etc.

What salary and benefits does a Council Member receive?

Council Members receive a $26,291 annual salary and benefits similar to full-time City employees.

(effective January 13, 2019, Council Member salary amount is $35,925)

What are City Council Member roles?

The City Council serves as the guiding source for policy and budget and has the following legislative powers:

  • Adopts the City budget.
  • Enacts legislation by passing City ordinances (term interchangeably used with law and regulation).
  • Sets guiding City policy.
  • Considers budget or ordinance amendments needed for delivery of City services.
  • Holds authority to override Mayoral veto.
  • Provides advice and consent on appointments made by the Mayor to City boards and commissions and City Department Directors.
  • Provides oversight of City functions.

The Council also serves as the Board of Directors for Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency, the Local Building Authority and jointly with the Mayor as the Board of Canvassers.

What is the time commitment associated with a Council Member’s responsibilities?

The Council meets the first three Tuesdays of each month except during July, August and December when the Council meets twice a month. Council Members review agenda packet material to prepare for each Council meeting; attend meetings with constituents and community groups and various trainings; travel for conferences; speak at engagements; etc.

The budget process is generally the busiest time for a Council Member during the months of May and June. What does the budget process entail?

In the process of adopting the City budget, the Council reviews the Mayor’s Recommended Budget, which by law is required to be balanced. In its review, the Council evaluates what services should be provided and at what level; whether to raise, lower or maintain taxes or fees; and the City’s service priorities. The Council is the determining body for the City budget, which must be adopted by June 30. Small group meetings, additional discussion, and additional full Council meetings may be scheduled during the time period to ensure a balanced budget is adopted by June 30.

What is a Council Work Session meeting and a Council Formal meeting?

A Council Work Session is a meeting during which Council Members discuss policy items and proposals and hear from presenters. Work Sessions typically begin at 2 p.m. A Council Formal Meeting is a time for the Council to receive public input and take action on policy proposals, enacting them into law. Formal Meetings begin at 7 p.m. Once a month, the Council meets as the Board of Directors of the City’s Redevelopment Agency.

The City Recorder completes the application process with interested individuals prior to the Council’s review and interview process. For more information please visit the City Recorder’s website or call 801-535-7671.