An Act to Amend the Charter of the City of New York 1857 Part I

Passed April 14, 1857, Three-Fifths Being Present

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

Sec. 1. The Corporation now existing, and known by the name of "The Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New York," shall continue to be a body politic and corporate, in fact and in name, by the same name, and shall have perpetual succession, with all the grants, powers, and privileges heretofore had by "The Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New York."

2. The legislative power of the said Corporation shall be vested in a Board of Aldermen and a Board of Councilmen, who together shall form the Common Council of the city of New York.

3. The Board of Aldermen shall consist of one Alderman to be elected from each district in the city and county of New York, ?s hereinafter provided for. The members of the Board of Aldermen first elected under this act shall be classified as follows : The Aldermen from districts having an odd numerical designation shall hold such office for the term of one year, and those from districts having an even numerical designation shall hold such office for the term of two years. At all subsequent elections for Aldermen, they shall be elected for the term of two years.

4. There shall be six Councilmen elected from each senatorial district in the city of New York, as the same now are, or may hereafter be, constituted, by general ticket, in each of said districts; and the persons  elected from each of said senatorial districts shall together form the Board of Councilmen for the said city. The Councilmen shall be chosen for one year.

5. No person shall be eligible to the office of Alderman or Council- man, who shall not, at the time of his election, be a resident of the district from which he is chosen.

6. Each Board of the Common Council shall have power to direct a special election to be held, to supply the place of any member whose seat shall become vacant by death, removal from the city, resignation, or otherwise, and in either case the person elected to supply the vacancy shall hold his seat only for the residue of the term of office of his immediate predecessor.

7. The Boards shall meet in separate chambers, and a majority of either shall be a quorum to do business. Each Board shall appoint a President from its own body, and shall choose its clerk and other officers, determine the rules of its own proceedings, and be the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members. Each Board shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and its doors shall be kept open , except when the public welfare shall require secrecy ; and all resolutions and reports of Committees, which shall recommend any specific improvement, involving the appropriation of public moneys, or the taxing or assessing the citizens of the city, shall be published immediately after the adjournment of the Board, under the authority of the Board, in all the newspapers employed by the Corporation, and shall not be passed or adopted until after such notice has been published at least two days; and whenever a vote is taken in relation thereto, the ayes and noes shall be called, and published in the same manner.

8. Each Board shall have the authority to compel the attendance of absent members, to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and to expel a member with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elected to the Board ; and the member so expelled shall, by such expulsion, forfeit all his right and powers as an Alderman or Councilman, and no Alderman or Councilman shall be questioned in any other place for any speech or vote in either Board.

9. The stated and occasional meetings of each Board of the Common Council shall be regulated by its own ordinances; and both Boards may meet on the same or on different days, as they may severally judge expedient.

10. Any person holding office under this charter, who shall, during his term of office, accept, hold, or retain any other civil office of honor, trust, or emolument, under the Government of the United States, or under this charter, or who shall, during his said term of office, receive any fees or emoluments, directed to be paid by any ordinance of the Common Council, except as is hereinafter provided, shall be deemed thereby to have vacated his office.

11. Every legislative act of the Common Council shall be by ordinance, act, or resolution, which shall have passed the two Boards of Common Council, before it shall take effect, shall be presented, duly certified, to the Mayor of the city for his approval. If he approve, he shall sign it; if not, he shall return it within ten days thereafter, with his objections, to the Board in which it originated, or, if such Board be not then in session, at its next stated meeting. The Board to which it shall be returned shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and cause the same to be published in one or more of the daily newspapers of the city. But no ordinance, act, or resolution shall be valid , unless the same shall have received the assent of both Boards within the same year.

12. The Board, to which such ordinance, act, or resolution shall have been so returned, shall, after the expiration of not less than ten days thereafter, proceed to reconsider the same. If, after such reconsideration, at least two-thirds of all the members elected to the Board shall agree to pass the same, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other Board, by which it shall be likewise reconsidered, and, if approved, by at least two-thirds of all the members elected to such Board, it shall take effect as an act or law of the Corporation. In all such cases, the votes of both Boards shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the passage of the ordinance reconsidered shall be entered on the journal of each Board, respectively.

13. If the Mayor shall not return the ordinance so presented to him within the time above limited for that purpose, it shall take effect in the  manner  if he had approved of it.

14. Any ordinance of the Common Council may originate in either Board, and, when it shall have passed one Board, may be rejected or amended by the other. But no ordinance shall be passed by either Board, except by the vote of a majority of all the members elected to such Board .

15. Neither the Mayor nor Recorder of the city of New York shall be a member of the Common Council thereof.

16. The executive power of the Corporation shall be vested in the Mayor and the Executive Departments.

17. Whenever there shall be a vacancy in the office of Mayor, or whenever the Mayor shall bo absent from the city, or be prevented by sickness, or any other cause, from attending to the duties of his office, or shall be removed, as hereinafter provided for, the President of the Board of Aldermen shall act as Mayor, and shall possess all the rights and powers of the Mayor, during the continuance of such vacancy, absence, or disability, and until the next charter election, in the case of a vacancy or removal from office.

18. It shall be the duty of the Mayor—

1. To communicate to the Common Council, at least once a year, and oftener if he shall deem it expedient, a general statement of the situation and condition of the city, in relation to its government, finances, and improvements.

2. To recommend for the adoption of the Common Council all such measures connected with the police, security, health, cleanliness, and ornament of the city, and the improvement of its government and finances, as he shall deem expedient.

3. To be vigilant and active in causing the ordinances of the city to be duly executed and enforced.

4. To exercise a constant supervision over the conduct and acts of all subordinate officers, and to receive and examine into all such complaints as may be preferred against any of them for violation or neglect of duty, and generally to perform all such duties as may be prescribed for him by the charter and city ordinances, and the laws of this State or the United States.

5. To appoint such clerks as may be authorized by the Common Council, and as may be required in his office, to aid him in the discharge of his official duties.

19. The Mayor, Comptroller, and Counsel to the Corporation, shall each be elected by the electors of the city ; the Mayor for the term of two years, the Counsel to the Corporation for the term of three years, and the Comptroller for the term of four years. The Comptroller shall be voted for on a separate ballot. The other heads of departments shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Board of Aldermen. The Board of Aldermen shall have power to confirm or reject all nominations of officers made by the Mayor; and whenever any person nominated by the Mayor shall be rejected by the Board of Aldermen, the Mayor shall immediately nominate another person.

20. The Mayor, Comptroller, and Counsel to the Corporation, may each be removed by the Governor, for cause, in the manner provided by law in the case of sheriff's. The vacancy occasioned by the removal of the Comptroller, or Counsel to the Corporation, shall be filled by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Board of Aldermen, until it shall be supplied at the next annual election of charter officers.


Website: The History
Article Name: An Act to Amend the Charter of the City of New York 1857 Pt I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Valentine's Manual 1865
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