HOME RULE CHARTER
The Efficient Government
and Taxes Task Force of Scranton Tomorrow has created this reproduction using
a certified copy
Copies of the Home Rule Charter and
Administrative Code can also be found in the Reference
Special Note: All errors in bold print are actual typographical errors in the Home Rule Charter and Administrative Code. What has not been noted are the inconsistencies of the words Charter and charter, Council and council, President and president, etc. Also what has not been noted is the reference to Mayor, Councilperson, Administrator and Controller only as he.
The last page of the Administrative Code reads as follows, showing that the Charter referendum passed by only 196 votes in 1974.
SCRANTON CITY HOME RULE REFERENDUM VOTED ON IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION HELD TUESDAY, MAY 21, 1974 WAS PASSED WITH THE FOLLOWING RESULTS:
CERTIFIED BY JAMES J. DECKER, CHIEF CLERK LACKAWANNA COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
WE, THE PEOPLE, OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON, IN ADOPTING THIS HOME RULE CHARTER, RECOGNIZE THAT GOVERNMENT IS COMPETENT ONLY WHEN THOSE WHO COMPOSE IT WORK AS TRUSTEES OF THE PEOPLE. AS A SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE, GOOD GOVERNMENT MUST BE RESPONSIVE TO THEIR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS. THEREFORE TO SECURE THESE GOALS THIS CHARTER IS ORDAINED AN ESTABLISHED.
NAMES AND BOUNDARIES
Section 101 - Names and Boundaries
The City of Scranton shall continue to be a municipal corporation under its present name, "City of Scranton". As used in this charter, the word "city" shall mean the City of Scranton in Lackawanna County, created pursuant to an Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature on April 23, 1866.
POWERS OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT
Section 201 . Governing Body
The Mayor and council jointly shall be the governing body of Scranton City Government.
Section 202 . Division of Powers . General
The powers of the city government shall be divided among the executive and legislative branches of the city government. Power belonging to one branch of the government shall not be exercised by the other branch, except as expressly provided in this charter.
Section 203 . Allocation of Certain Powers and Duties
Where the city government has any power or duty and the responsibility for the exercise of such power or the performance of such duty is not fixed by this charter or by general law or special law, the power or duty shall be exercised or performed as follows: All powers and duties of the city government which are legislative in nature shall be exercised and performed by the council. All powers and duties which are executive in nature shall be exercised or performed by the Mayor or such other executive officer of the city government as the Mayor may designate except as otherwise specifically provided herein. In the event the nature of any power or duty is uncertain, or the law creating such power or duty requires cooperation between branches of the city government, the president of council and the mayor shall fix the responsibility for the exercise of such power or the performance of such duty.
Section 204 . Powers of the City Government
The governing body of the City of
Scranton shall exercise all powers which may now
or hereafter be
Section 205 . Intergovernmental Relations
The city of Scranton shall have the power to enter into intergovernmental cooperative arrangements as shall be provided under existing law.
Section 206 . Eminent Domain
The City of Scranton may acquire by purchase, gift, devise, or condemnation any property which may be needed by the City of Scranton for any public use or purpose according to proceedings set forth in Pennsylvania Eminent Domain-Code.
Section 301 . Composition
There shall be a City Council of five (5) members, nominated and elected by the qualified voters of the City at large. Another two (2) councilpersons shall be elected at the municipal election immediately following the certification of any census figures indicating that the population of the City of Scranton has increased by at least 35,000 over the census figures of 1970.
Section 302 . Terms
The terms of all councilpersons shall be for four (4) years commencing noon on the first Monday of January following the year in which they are elected, except that a councilperson appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve from the date of his appointment until the next general election if more than fifty (50) percent of the unexpired term remains. In all other instances the appointment shall be for the unexpired term.
Section 303 . Election and Election Procedures
The regular election of councilpersons
shall be held on the general municipal election
day as established
Section 304 . Salary
Each councilperson shall receive such
a salary as Council shall from time to time ordain.
No salary increase shall become effective until
the date of commencement of the terms of councilpersons
elected at the next regular election after such
salary increase, provided that such election follows
the adoption of such
Section 305 . Qualifications
A Councilperson shall be a citizen of the United States, shall have been a resident of the City for at lease one (1) year prior to the date of his election: shall be at least the minimum voting age at the time of his nomination; and shall reside in the City of Scranton throughout his term of service.
Section 306 . Authority
Council shall deal with all administrative agencies and employees only as a body through the Mayor. No individual councilperson shall have any authority whatsoever under this Charter unless such authority is specifically delegated by the charter or by the Council acting as a body.
Section 307 . Prohibitions
No councilperson shall hold any other compensated city office or employment during the term for which he is elected to council and no former councilperson shall hold any compensated appointive city office of employment, nor shall he act as a paid consultant to the City until one (1) year after the expiration of the term for which he was elected to Council.
Section 308 . Vacancies
The office of councilpersons shall become vacant upon his death, resignation, removal from office, failure to assume such office within thirty 930) days after commencement of the term or in any manner authorized by law or by this charter. A councilperson shall forfeit his office if he lacks at any time during his term of office any qualifications for the office prescribed in this Charter or by law or is convicted of a felony or a crime in violation of public trust or is found in violation of the Code of Ethics by Council.
Section 309 . Filing of Vacancies
If a vacancy exists in the city council, the city council shall, as provided in the administrative code, fill such vacancy, within thirty (30) days thereafter, by electing a qualified person to serve until the first Monday of January when his successor who shall have been elected by the qualified electors at the next municipal election, is duly sworn into office for the remainder of the term of the person originally elected to said office. If, at any time, vacancies should occur or exist in the membership of all members of city council, the court of common pleas shall appoint a city council, of persons properly qualified, who shall serve as herein provided.
Section 310 . Organization of Council
The City Council shall meet at such times and places as shall be designated in the Administrative Code. The Council shall meet to organize on the first Monday in January following the municipal election. At this time, the City Council shall elect, from among its members, officers who shall have the titles of President and Vice President, whom shall server for a two (2) year term. The president shall preside at meetings of the Council and perform such other functions as may be assigned by the charter, or ordinance or by vote of the City Council. The vice-president shall act as president during the absence or disability of the president.
Section 311 . Oath of Office
Councilpersons prior to assuming office, shall take and shall sign an oath of office as shall from time to time be prescribed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Such oath may be taken and signed before a judge, district magistrate, or notary public of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and no person shall be permitted to assume office until the oath, in written form, is filled with the City Clerk.
Section 312 . Investigations
The Council may make investigations
into the affairs of the City and the conduct of
any department, office,
Section 313 . Annual Independent Post Audit
Council shall provide for an independent audit of all city revenue and accounts by a certified public accountant who has no private interest in the fiscal affairs of the city government or any of its elected or appointed officers. Council may provide for more frequent audits, as well as, special audits, as it deems necessary and said special audits shall be conducted by a certified public accountant. The complete annual audit shall be submitted to City Council who shall conform to existing legislation. A summary of the fiscal affairs shall be published in the local newspapers by May 31 of each year.
OPERATION AND PROCEDURES OF CITY COUNCIL
Section 401 . Meetings
The Council shall meet once a week in regular sessions in regular council chambers. It shall meet at such times and places as the council may prescribe by rule. Council may adjourn to a stated time for general business or special business. If no quorum is present at a regular meeting a majority of those who do meet may agree until the meeting is held. Special meetings may be called by the President of Council or upon written request of at least one-third of the members thereof. A minimum of 24 hours legal notice of such meetings shall be necessary. Council may recess for the purpose of discussing in a closed or executive session limited to its own membership any matter which would tend to defame or prejudice the character or reputation of any person, provided that the general subject matter for consideration is expressed in the motion calling for such session and that final action thereon shall not be taken by the Council until the matter is placed on the agenda.
Section 402 . Quorum
A majority of the whole body of Council shall constitute a quorum. Council shall conduct no business except in the presence of a quorum.
Section 403 . Records
Council shall make and preserve minutes and record of its proceedings. These records shall be open for public inspection during reasonable hours.
Section 404 . Majority Action
The action of a majority of the Councilpersons present and entitled to vote, unless otherwise stated in this Charter, shall be binding upon and constitute the action of the Council.
Section 405 . Operating Rules
The Council shall be resolution determine its own rules and order of business. Voting shall be by roll call except on procedural matters and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes. At least twenty-four (24) hours before any regular meeting of Council, an agenda containing all items which are scheduled to come before it at the meeting shall be publicly posted. No action taken on a matter not included in the posted agenda shall be effective unless the body firsts adopts by special vote a resolution that an emergency exists and that the particular matter must be acted upon at a meeting for the peace, health, safety or convenience of the city.
Section 406 . City Clerk
The Council shall appoint at its biennial reorganization meeting an officer of the city who shall have the title of City Clerk. The City Clerk shall give notice of council meetings to its members and the public, keep the journal of its proceedings and perform such other duties as are assigned to him by this charter or by council.
Section 407 . Citizens Right to be Heard
Reasonable opportunity shall be provided for citizens and taxpayers to address Council on agenda matters before a vote is taken. Procedures for citizens participation shall be determined by Council.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Section 501 . Form of Action by Council
Official actions of Council may be taken by adoption of an ordinance, resolution or motion. All ordinances and resolutions must be in written form. All action of a legislative character shall be taken by ordinance. All other actions of a legislative character shall be taken by ordinance. All other actions of Council shall be by resolution or motion unless otherwise required in this Charter. All final action in adopting ordinances or resolutions shall be by vote of a majority of all members of Council by roll call and shall be entered in the minutes of the meeting. An extraordinary majority of Council shall be necessary to override the mayor. s veto.
Section 502 . Action Requiring an Ordinance
In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provision of this charter to be done by ordinance, those acts of the City Council shall be by ordinance which:
Section 503 . General Ordinance Procedures
Every ordinance shall:
Section 504 .
No ordinance or resolution shall become effective until it has been sighed by the Mayor or passed by an extraordinary majority of the Council over the Mayor. s veto. Subsequent to the final passage of any ordinance or resolution by the Council, it shall be forwarded by the City Clerk to the Mayor for his signature. The Mayor shall have a ten (10) day period in which to sign or veto the ordinance. If the Mayor does not sign an ordinance within that then (10) day period it shall become effective and his approval shall be assumed. If the Mayor chooses to veto an ordinance within the ten (10) day period. He shall return the ordinance to the City Clerk within the ten (10) day period together with a written veto message indicating the reasons for his vet. The ordinance or resolution shall be placed on the next regularly scheduled meeting of Council after receipt of the Mayor. s veto message and the question of passage of the ordinance or resolution over the Mayor. s veto shall be considered at that meeting.
Section 505 . Codification
One year following the adoption of this Charter and annually thereafter, the Council shall provide for the preparation of a general codification of all city ordinances and resolutions having the force and effect of law.
Section 601 . composition
The executive branch shall consist
of a Mayor and as many departments as he shall
Section 602 . Election and Term
The Mayor shall be elected at large by the qualified electors of the City of Scranton in conformity with the procedures for nomination and election of the Mayor as established by the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for municipal elections. The term of office shall be four years commencing at noon on the first Monday of January following the year in which he is elected and ending at the commencement of the term for which his successor is elected, except that a mayor appointed to fill a vacancy shall follow procedures stated in Article III . Section 309.
Section 603. Salary
The Mayor shall receive a salary as recommended by Council and outlined in the Administrative Code.
Section 604 . Qualifications
The Mayor shall be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the city and a qualified voter for at least one year prior to his election and shall reside in the City of Scranton throughout his term of service.
Section 605 . Prohibitions
The Mayor shall not hold any other compensated city office or employment during the term for which he is elected as Mayor, and no former Mayor shall hold any compensated appointive city office or employment nor shall he act as paid consultant to the City until one year following the expiration of the term for which he is elected as Mayor.
Section 606 . Vacancies
The Office of Mayor shall become vacant upon his death, resignation, removal, forfeiture of his office, or failure to assume such office within thirty (30) days after the commencement of the term thereof. The Mayor shall forfeit his office if he lacks at any time during his term of office any qualifications prescribed by this charter or by law or convicted of a felony, or a crime in violation of public trust or is found in violation of the Code of Ethics by Council.
Section 607 . Filling of Vacancies
Should a vacancy occur in the office of Mayor, the City Council shall fill such vacancy within thirty (30) days and in the ensuing period the President of Council shall serve as Acting Mayor. If by reason of a tie vote or otherwise, a vacancy in the office of Mayor shall not have been filled by the Council within the time as limited herein, the Court of Common Pleas shall fill such vacancy by appointment of a qualified person for the porting of the unexpired term as herein provided.
Section 608 . Oath of Office
The Mayor, prior to assuming office, shall take and shall sigh an oath of office as prescribed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,. Such oath may be taken and signed before any judge, district magistrate, or notary public of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and no person shall be permitted to assume such office until the oath is filled with the city in written form.
Section 609 . Powers and Authority
The Mayor shall have the following specific powers, duties, and authority,
Section 610 . Executive organization
In the executive branch there shall
be established a Department of Administration.
A Department of Public Safety, a Department
The heads of the various departments
report to the Business Administrator, who in turn
shall be accountable to the Mayor,. The Business
Administrator shall also be the director of a
Department of Administration which shall be established
Section 701 . Terms and Qualifications
The City controller shall be elected
for a term of four years and until his successor
qualifies at the municipal election of 1975
Section 702 .
The controller shall appoint a deputy
controller, preferably an accountant, and may
also appoint such employees of his office
Section 703 . Vacancy
Should a vacancy exist in the office of the Controller, the Deputy Controller shall succeed to the office and duties until the next municipal election.
Section 704 . Powers and Duties of the City Controller
Per Ordinance#17 in February, 1993,
the following question was added to the May, 1993
ballot: SHALL THE HOME RULE CHARTER, ARTICLE VII,
SECTION 704, BE AMENDED TO CONFER ADDITIONAL POWERS
AND DUTIES, SPECIFICALLY
Per Ordinance#18 in February,
1993, the following question was added to the
May, 1993 ballot: SHALL THE HOME RULE CHARTER
OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON BE AMENDED TO DELETE,
ARTICLE VII, SECTION 704(1), SECTION 704(2), AND
SECTION 704(3), THOSE DUTIES AND POWERS CURRENTLY
NOT PERFORMED BY THE CITY CONTROLLER OF THE
Section 801 . Personnel System
Employment promotion and discharge
of all person from full-time positions of employment
with the city
shall be accomplished through a
merit personnel system which shall be based on
fitness for the position demonstrated by examination
or other evidence of competence. The Business
Administrator and the Department of Administration
shall develop appropriate measures of competence
for all positions within the city. s employment.
These measures or tests must be approved by the
Mayor and Civil Service Commission of the city,
which is hereby charges with the responsibility
of approving the tests or measures of competence
for all city positions and for hearing appeals
from individuals who claim that employment or
promotion has been awarded to other than qualified
individuals. Individuals who are employed or promoted
to positions in the city service on the basis
of the above mentioned tests or measures of competence
shall retain that position with the city service
and shall not be removed, demoted, disciplined,
or discharged except for just cause. Individuals
removed, demoted, disciplined, or discharged from
Section 802 . Testing and Appointment Procedures
Examinations and measures of competence for full-time employment positions may include, but not be limited to, any or all of the following: physical examination, psychological examination, demonstrations or physical dexterity, demonstrations of physical ability to perform specific tasks, and written or oral examinations. To the extent feasible, the identity of individuals being examined shall be shielded from the examiner until after the individual has been rated on that section of the examination. Each vacant full-time position shall be broadly advertised for a period of at least ten working days by posting notice of the vacancy on bulletin boards at city work locations and by advertising the vacancy in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the City. Interested individuals may apply for the vacant position and shall then be tested competitively utilizing the examinations and other measures of competence developed by the Business Administrator and approved by the mayor and the Civil Service Commission. Individuals shall compete and shall be graded on each examination or measure of competence approved for the position. The Civil Service Commission shall finally assign a composite grade to each individual competing for the position and shall certify the three individuals receiving the highest grades to the Mayor for his consideration. The Mayor may appoint anyone of the three top graded individuals to the vacant position. Individuals who have been certified by the Civil Service Commission to the Mayor and who have not been appointed by the Mayor shall be recertified by the Commission for the next vacant position of a similar type and level which occurs within the city service.
BUDGET AND FISCAL MATTERS
Section 901 . Fiscal year and Budgetary Process
The fiscal year of the City of Scranton shall commence on January 1 and end on December 31. The preparation of the annual operating budget shall commence no later than September 15 for the subsequent budget year.
Section 902 . Budget Message
By no later than November 15 of each fiscal year, the Mayor shall submit to Council a budget and accompanying message which shall explain the budget in fiscal terms and interims of programs and services. It shall outline the proposed financial policies of the city for the ensuing year, describe the important features of the budget, indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenue, together with the reason for such changes, summarize the city. s debt position and include such other material as the Mayor deems desirable.
Section 903 . Budget
The Budget shall contain:
The total of proposed expenditures shall not exceed the total estimated funds available.
Section 904 . Capital Budget
The Mayor shall submit to the Council the first five year capital budget after adoption of the charter, initially at least nine months prior to the final date for the submission of the Budget. In all subsequent years, it shall be submitted to the Council at least three months prior to the final date for the submission of the budget. The capital budget shall contain:
The above information may be revised and extended each year with regard to capital improvements still pending or in process of construction or acquisition.
Section 905 . Council Action on Budget
The Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the city a summary of the budget and a notice stating the times where the budget is available for public inspection. A public hearing shall take place no later than December 1 of the fiscal year. After the public hearing the Council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. In amending the Budget, the council may delete, increase, or decrease programs or amounts, except for expenditures required by law or for debt service. Should a change in a program or budgetary item exceed 10 per cent of the Mayor. s recommended budget, another public hearing must take place within 72 hours to justify said change. In no case can an amendment increase authorized expenditures to an amount greater than the total estimated funds available. The Council must adopt an annual budget by no later than December 15 of the fiscal year currently ending. If Council fails to adopt a budget by December 15, then the Mayor. s proposed budget shall become the official budget for the city for the ensuing fiscal year.
Section 906 . Council Action on Capital Budget
The Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a general summary of the capital budget and a notice stating the times and places where copies of the capital budget are available for public inspection. Within two weeks after such publication, a public hearing shall take place on the capital budget. The Council shall adopt a Capital budget with or without amendments after the public hearing but no later than December 15 of the current fiscal year.
Section 907 . Tax Levy
Immediately after the adoption of the budget, Council shall by ordinance set the tax rates and levy on various subjects of taxation.
Section 908 . Public Records
Copies of the budget and capital program
shall be made part of the public records and shall
be made available
Section 909 . Amendments after Adoption
Supplemental, emergency and transfer
appropriations should be defined in the Administrative
Code. Should a deficit develop
Section 910 . Lapse of Appropriations
Every appropriation, except for capital
expenditures, shall lapse at the close of the
fiscal year to the extent that it has not been
expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a
capital expenditure shall continue in force until
the purpose for which it was
Section 911 . Administration of the Budget
The Business Administrator shall supervise
the administration of each annual budget. He shall
utilize modern management practice for the operation
of the budget. Immediately after the budget has
been enacted and after consultation with the heads
Section 912 . Payment of Funds
The payment of city funds shall not
be made unless specifically provided for in the
Section 913 . Fidelity Bonds
Before entering upon the duties of
their offices or positions, all executive branch
personnel shall execute
INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM
Section 1001 . General Authority
Section 1002 . Commencement of Proceedings:
Petitioners. Committee, Affidavit
Any five qualified voters may commence initiative or referendum proceedings by filing with the City Clerk an affidavit stating they will constitute the petitioners. committee and be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form, stating their names and addresses and specifying the address to which all notices to the committee are to be sent, and setting out in full the proposed initiative ordinance or citing the ordinance sought to be reconsidered. Promptly after the affidavit of the petitioners. committee is filed the clerk shall issue the appropriate petition blanks to the petitioners. committee.
Section 1003 . Petitions
Section 1004 . Procedure After Filing
Section 1005 . Referendum petitions; Suspension of Effect of an ordinance
When a referendum petition is filed with the city clerk, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect. Such suspension shall terminate when:
Section 1006 . Action on Petitions
Section 1007 . Results of Election
Section 1101 . Amendment Procedures
This Charter shall be amended in conformity with the provisions of Act 62 of 1972, as amended.
Section 1102 . Election Procedures
The procedures for the nomination
and election of the officers of the City of Scranton
shall be in conformity
Section 1103 . Code of Ethics
The administrative Code of the City shall contain a Code of Ethics.
Section 1104 . General Laws
All reference to the general laws contained in this charter refer to the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and are intended to include any amendments or revisions to such chapter and section or to the corresponding chapters and sections of any rearrangement of the general laws enacted subsequent to the adoption of the charter.
Section 1105 . Gifts of Donations
Every department, board, or commission may with council approval accept on behalf of the city, gifts or donations of money, securities or other personal property, or the income of which shall be useful to the work of any department, board, or commission.
Section 1201 . Contracts
All contracts whether for purchasing goods, properties, services, or supplies or the leasing or renting of same, necessary for the administration of the city shall be done in accordance with the requirements of and procedures established in the Administrative Code.
Section 1301 . Administrative Code
The attached Administrative Code which
contains a Code of Ethics will become effective
with the Charter and will remain in full
Section 1302 . Elected Officials
Elected officials in office at the
time of adoption of this charter shall remain
in office for the full term to which they were
Section 1303 . Continuation.
All ordinances, resolutions, rules,
regulations, and procedures of the City of Scranton
Government shall remain in full force and effect
unless and until amended by a proper ordinance
of City Council or action of the Mayor in accordance
with authority granted
Section 1304 . Salaries
Compensation to be paid to elected officials holding the positions of Mayor, Councilperson, and Controller shall be established by the City Council no later than February 1 of the year in which an eletion will be held to fill any or all of these positions for a full four year term. Compensation of any elected officials occupying these positions shall not be increased or changed in any way during their elected term of office.
The base annual salaries for elected officials effective with this charter shall be: Mayor - $20,00. Controller - $15,000; Councilperson - $7,000. This provision shall apply to incumbent office holders.
Section 1401 . Constitutional Construction
The provisions of this Charter shall
be severable; and if any of its provisions shall
be held to be unconstitutional or illegal,
Section 1501 . Effective Date
The effective date of this Charter shall be the first Monday of January, 1976