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Measure U – 2018 Charter Amendments

Fact Sheet

The San José City Council has placed a measure on the November ballot that would make two changes to the City Charter: it would change how salaries for the Mayor and City Councilmembers are set and it would allow the City Council to place a competing measure on the ballot by a two-thirds Council vote after an independent report analyzing the citizen initiative is accepted by the Council.

Council Salary Setting

  • Currently, the Charter requires the Mayor and City Councilmembers to set their own salaries through a vote of the City Council. Every two years, the Salary Setting Commission recommends to the City Council what the City Council's salaries should be. The recommended salary for all Councilmembers must be the same except the Mayor's may be higher. The City Council may, by ordinance, adopt the Commission's recommendations or a lesser amount but cannot increase the Commission's recommendations. The City Council may also vote to reduce their salaries at any time.
  • Measure U would change this process by making the Salary Setting Commission, not the City Council, the final decision-making body on council salaries. The members of the Salary Setting Commission are appointed by the Civil Service Commission.  Members of the Civil Service Commission are appointed by the City Council.
  • Under the proposed changes, the Salary Setting Commission would meet every five years and make a final decision as to what the Council’s salary would be.  The Council would not have an opportunity to review this decision.
  • In the years between meetings of the Salary Setting Commission, the Council’s salary would increase along with CPI, but would be prohibited from increasing more than 5% a year even if CPI exceeded that amount.

Competing Measures

  • The City Charter currently prohibits the City Council from placing an ordinance on the ballot that competes with a citizen initiative.
  • State law allows city councils to submit measures to the voters, even if they are an alternative to or compete with a citizen initiative. Under State law, if the provisions of two or more ordinances adopted at the same election conflict, the ordinance receiving the highest number of affirmative votes controls.
  • Measure U would align the San José’s charter with State law and allow the Council to submit an alternative measure to a citizen initiative, provided that two-thirds of the City Council votes to place a competing ordinance on the ballot and after an independent report analyzing the citizen initiative is accepted by the Council.

Read the Measure U FAQ
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