| City Council|
The 2012-2014 Council is composed of the following:
You can contact any member of Council through the Council Office via:
You can also speak with City Council by calling in to the In Your District program, airing at 8 p.m. every week on the BCTV MAC Channel 99.
Under the Home Rule Charter, the City of Reading is divided into six districts, with each district electing one Council member. District-elected Council members are to represent the voice of their constituents and are to act as a body to make decisions in the best interest of the entire City. Boundaries mapping out the six districts of the City can be found on the City website. The President of Council is elected at-large. The President of Council is the presiding officer of Council and has the same voting powers as the other six Council members. The President interacts with the Mayor and other governmental entities and represents the voice of Council.
Linda A. Kelleher is the City Clerk for the City of Reading and has been serving City Council since she was first appointed in January 1996. The City Clerk acts as the Secretary to the Council, or Secretary to the Board of Directors. The City Clerk is the Director of the Legislative Branch, responsible for managing the operations of City Council by providing leadership and administrative support, implementing Council policies and providing quality services to the people of Reading.The City Clerk maintains accurate legislative records and performs other services to the body of Council such as public relations, drafting and reviewing ordinances, legal research and acting as a liaison with the City Administration and other entities. The City Clerk assists Council in areas such as setting agendas, developing a Council Action Plan and coordinating appointments for the City's Boards, Authorities and Commissions.
Council meetings are held on Monday evenings. The meeting schedule is listed at the bottom of each regular meeting agenda.
Additional meetings are added and advertised as needed through newsprint or City website announcement (readingpa.gov).
Our City laws are located at the “Codified Ordinance” link on our web site. If you cannot print the law you are interested in, please call the Council Office at 610 655 6204 to request a copy. The Frequently Used Ordinance Book is published by Council Staff and contains a variety of quality of life laws. This book is updated by Council Staff on a regular basis. If you would like the latest draft, please call the Council Office at 610 655 6204.
You can address the body of Council at their Regular Business Meetings held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month and at Public Hearings held to address specific topics. Council does not allow public comment at Committee Meetings, Committee of the Whole Sessions or Work Sessions.
Citizens wishing to address the Council at its regular meetings may do so by giving notice verbally or in writing by providing their name, address and the subject matter to be discussed to the City Clerk before 5 PM the day of the meeting. Citizens can also register by calling 610-655-6204 or by entering their information in this form. Citizens speaking on agenda issues may speak for up to five minutes at the beginning of the meeting. Those speaking on general matters may speak for up to three minutes after the Council action on the legislative matter is complete. When the City Clerk signals that your time is complete, we ask that you quickly conclude your remarks and be seated.
For information on the City’s Boards, Authorities and Commissions click on the “Authorities or Boards & Commissions” menu item on the website main menu or by contacting the Council Office at 610 655 6204 or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to serve on one of the City’s Boards, Authorities and Commissions click here, print an application, fill it out and mail it to the Council Office – 815 Washington Street, Reading PA 19601. If you cannot print a copy, call the Council Office at 610 655 6204 to request one and the Council staff will be happy to assist you.
The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made in the proper channels of governmental structure; that public office is not to be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government.
In recognition of these goals, there is an established Code of Ethics to be administered by the Board of Ethics. The purpose of this Code is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all officials and employees of the City of Reading, its agencies and authorities, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, by providing guidelines to clarify actions or inactions which are incompatible with the best interests of the City and by directing disclosure of private, financial or other interests in matters affecting the City.
The provisions and purpose of this Code and such rules, regulations, opinions and disciplinary decisions as may be promulgated by the Board Pursuant hereto, and under provisions of Article XII of the Charter, are hereby declared to be in the best interest of the City.
Any person may file a complaint about alleged ethics violations of the Reading Code of Ethics or the City Charter. A complaint form may be requested through the Board of Ethics liaison, Michelle Katzenmoyer, by calling 610 655 6205, upon request from the Council staff office, or by clicking here. In addition, the Board may initiate proceedings by its own action.
A person signing a complaint shall:
All Board proceedings and records relating to an investigation are confidential until a final determination is made by the Board, except as may be required by due process. The final order is a public record. All other file material must remain confidential. The Board, however, may release the identity of a complainant if it has determined that there has been a wrongful use of the Code of Ethics.
The Home Rule Charter acts as the “Constitution” for the City of Reading. It sets the operational rules for our government. The City Administrative Code, found in the Codified Ordinances, is used to further define Charter provisions. Copies of the Home Rule Charter may be acquired through publication provision of the City Council staff office and it is also available on our website.
The Charter Board, created under the 1st Amendment to the Home Rule Charter, hears and decides all complaints alleging violations of the Charter and Administrative Code. This Board is also responsible for providing orientation for all elected officials.
The State provides for three forms of government in Pennsylvania:
The Commission Form of government is made up by a Mayor and City Councilors all elected at-large. The Mayor presides over Council meetings but has no additional power. Al these elected officls perform executive duties and direct the city departments. Under the Commission form there is no single or administrative officer to oversee the operations of the City.
Home Rule Charter Optional provided for 2 structures:
Reading voters approved the Home Rule Charter Optional form of government with a Strong Mayor / Part-time Council in the November 1993 General Election. The executive, administrative and law enforcement powers of the City are vested in the Mayor. The Mayor shall control and be accountable for the executive branch of City government.
City Council is the legislative body having all powers of the City not otherwise provided for in this Charter, exercised in a manner to be determined by Council. Council shall provide for the exercise and performance of any such other powers and duties in a manner consistent with the terms of this Charter. All powers of the City shall be exercised as provided by this Charter, or if the Charter makes no provision, as provided by ordinances or resolutions of the City Council.
The Charter defines the City’s Departments and sets out requirements for professional department directors, who report to the City’s Managing Director, appointed by the Mayor and approved by Council.
The City Clerk's Office houses a variety of current and old city records.
The City of Reading Codified Ordinances has many features in addition to the current city laws. This book provides references to applicable state and federal legislation. The Codified Ordinance Book also includes a key that provides the disposition of all city streets, improvements, vacations, etc. The key can also provide the researcher with the history and disposition of city ordinances. The Codified Ordinances have been available on-line since 1999, with updates done annually. The Codified Ordinances can also be found in the Main Branch of the Reading Public Library and the Berks County Law Library.
The office also holds the Journals of Council that include the ordinances and resolutions adopted dating back to 1854. Other old records include departmental reports, solicitor's opinions, Board of Health records, tax assessment records, Water Bureau reports, etc. Unfortunately, record retention and archiving diminished between the 1960's and 1995. In 1996 staff in the City Council/City Clerk's Office restored the practice of records retention and archiving, and the staff is currently working to digitize current and old city records so they are more accessible to the public.
These are public records that must be disclosed under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Act:
Although individual agencies still may agree to release the following information, Pennsylvania courts have ruled that these records are NOT subject to inspection or copying under the Right to Know Act:
Citizen Initiative and Referendum are two ways that citizens not holding political office may present legislation for the City. The two opportunities are as follows:
Initiative: The qualified voters of the City shall have the power to propose ordinances to the Council. If the Council fails to adopt such an ordinance, the initiative process would place the proposed ordinance before the voters as a referendum at an election, providing the City voters with the opportunity to adopt or reject the ordinance at a City election.
Referendum: The qualified voters of the City shall have the power to require reconsideration by the Council of any adopted ordinance. If the Council fails to repeal an ordinance so reconsidered, the Referendum process may be commenced giving the qualified voters of the City the opportunity to approve or reject said ordinance at a City election.
For more detail, please contact the Council Office by calling 610 655 6204 or e-mail to email@example.com.
The Council Office can take a concern or complaint about City Services, and work with the appropriate City department(s) to efficiently rectify the problem. In addition, Council members note problematic trends in order to improve upon or implement any additional services that benefit the City. If you have a concern that the City Clerk or City Council can assist with, contact the Council staff office at 610 655 6204, via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to 815 Washington Street Reading, PA 19601.