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City Council Job Description

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City council members are public officials elected or appointed to represent a ward or district of a city as the municipal governing body typically known as a city council.


The responsibilities of a city council member generally involve determining city government and administration policies, as well as adopting budgets and legislation.

Other Names

A city council member might also be referred to as an “alderman,” “councilman/councilwoman," “supervisor” or a number of other names depending on the jurisdiction.

Daily Tasks

City council members spend much of their day at committee and subcommittee meetings where city business is discussed. City council members also spend time meeting with citizens and representatives of groups affected by city government.

Job Prospects

The number of city council members varies from city to city. For example, the New York City Council has 51 council members, while Phoenix has eight (not including the mayor). Because of the amount of power associated with these positions, competition for the job of city council member is high.


Compensation for members of a city council varies by size of city and scope of responsibility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2008 average median salary for elected local officials was $44,928.