City of La Quinta: Gem of the Desert

Government

ABOUT CITY GOVERNMENT

Incorporation. The City of La Quinta was organized, formed and incorporated under the laws of the State of California on May 1, 1982, and became a Charter City in 1996.  It has a “Council-Manager” form of government where the City Manager is appointed by the City Council and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Municipal Corporation.  The Council acts as the board of directors of the municipal corporation and meets in a public forum where citizens may participate in the governmental process.

City Council. The City Council consists of five members elected at-large, on a non-partisan basis. Residents elect the Mayor and four Council members, making each accountable to the entire citizenry.

Council members serve four-year staggered terms. The mayor is directly elected and serves a two-year term.  The City Council establishes city policies, approves ordinances, resolutions, and annual budgets, makes land use decisions, approves agreements and contracts, and hears appeals on decisions made by city staff or advisory committees.  The Mayor and City Council members receive a monthly stipend set by resolution.

The City Manager. La Quinta's City Manager is Frank J. Spevacek.  He is the Chief Executive Officer of the city.  The City Manager is appointed by the City Council to enforce city laws, to direct the operations of city government, to prepare and manage the municipal budget, and to implement the policies and programs initiated by the City Council.  The City Manager is responsible to the City Council, and directs departments and operations.

The City Attorney.  La Quinta's City Attorney is M. Katherine Jenson.  The City Attorney is appointed by the City Council and works under contract to the City. The City Attorney is the legal advisor for the council. He or she provides general legal advice on all aspects of city business and represents the city in legal actions.

The City Clerk. La Quinta's City Clerk is Susan Maysels.  The Clerk is an appointed staff position. The City Clerk is charged with responsibility of maintaining records of council actions, permanent records of all city transactions and documents, and coordinating the city’s elections.  The Deputy City Clerk is an appointed staff position who assists the City Clerk in carrying out all duties.

The City Treasurer. La Quinta's Treasurer is Finance Director, Robbeyn Bird.  The City Treasurer is an appointed staff position responsible for the custody and investment of all city funds.

Boards, Commissions, and Special Committees.  Boards, commissions and special committees composed of local citizens are frequently appointed by the City Council to advise the City Council in one or more aspects of city government. 

City Work Force. One of the major investments a city makes is the city’s work force—employees and volunteers who perform the day-to-day functions necessary to provide services to the community.

Administering specific functions of city government and responsible to the City Manager are the Finance Director (Robbeyn Bird), Community Services Director (Edie Hylton), Community Development Director (Les Johnson), Public Works Director (Timothy Jonasson), and the City Clerk (Susan Maysels), and their skilled staff.