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The Law Making Power in Government 

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”


The Gary Common Council is the legislative and fiscal body of government in Gary, Indiana.  The Council’s nine members consist of one representative from each of the City’s six Council districts and three at-large members.  View a map of the six districts here.  Members are elected to serve four-year terms.

As the legislative body, the Council has the exclusive responsibility of passing or changing local laws (known as ordinances), resolutions, orders, and motions for the City’s government. As the fiscal body, the Council has the authority to levy certain taxes and it has the sole responsibility of adopting a City budget each year.  The Council also appoints members to certain boards and commissions such as the school board or the police commission that serve the community in various areas.

Under the  “strong mayor” system in Indiana, the mayor has most of the executive and administrative power over the city’s daily operations.  He or she appoints or removes department heads and has veto power over ordinances passed by the Council.  Despite the considerable power held by the executive branch, the Council has the ultimate authority for funding and all money spent on behalf of City taxpayers.

During budget season – which typically occurs in the fall – the mayor will propose to the Council a detailed budget for all City departments, considering revenue sources and restrictions on how money from each source can be used.  

Throughout the year, City departments will need to reallocate funds for different uses, either within the same department or to different departments.  These transfers and appropriations require Council approval.

Regular General Meetings: typically occur on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall, subject to change with advanced notice. The 

All business before the Council must be filed with the Office of the City Clerk: The Clerk is the keeper of the record for the Council and maintains the City Code of Ordinances. To contact the Common Council or the City Clerk, please call the Common Council office at (219) 881-1315 or the City Clerk’s office at (219) 881-4730.

Mission Statement

  • To maintain a check and balance of city government
  • To provide legislation that will result in improving the quality of life for Gary citizens
  • To constantly review existing legislation and make changes
  • To serve as a source of public information and assist in resolving citizen concerns and complaints
  • To appropriate annual operating funds and monitor financial expenditures