Recommendations for Modernizing City Council

Review of How the City Elects and Compensates Mayor and Council

The recommendations of the study group were presented to council on Sept. 7.  

Recommendation 1: City Council should transition from two-year to four-year terms  

  • Extending time between elections enables City Council to better manage the complexities of governing Raleigh  

Recommendation 2: City Council should adopt staggered terms whereby all district City Councilmembers are elected one side of the cycle, and the Mayor and all At-Large City Councilmembers are elected on the other side of the cycle.  

  • Longer terms will help City Council maintain a heightened focus on strategic initiatives  
  • Eliminates the possibility of an entire City Council being defeated in a single election  
  • Establishes political stability that is more conducive to policy development and effective implementation  


  • 2022 - One group of City Councilmembers will run for four-year terms, while a second group will run for two-year terms, with the Mayor being included in one of those two groups. 
  • 2024 - The group who ran for two-year terms in 2022 will run in the 2024 election for four-year terms.  
  • 2026 and beyond - All City Councilmember and Mayoral elections will be for four-year terms.  
    • Disclaimer: City Council will have to (1) agree to recommendation #1 and transition from two-year to four-year terms; and (2) decide which group will run for two-year and four-year terms in 2022.  

Recommendation 3: Increase total compensation for the Mayor and City Council  

  • Raleigh City Council members make less than their counterparts in Durham, Greensboro, Fayetteville, and Winston-Salem  
  • Total compensation considered as a part of the budget process; Council could adopt the increase in the 22-23 budget  
  • Higher total compensation will result in more diverse candidates  

See Chart  

  • Mayor - currently $27,550 proposed $45,911
  • Council - currently $19,725 proposed $37,248

Recommendation 4: City Council should move elections to even years to spur greater voter turnout  

  • Already completed  
  • Efficient way to generate a higher voter turnout  
  • Enhanced voter education and awareness  

Recommendation 5: City Council should direct staff to develop and implement a comprehensive voter engagement program  

  • The Office of Community Engagement will launch a Voter Education Program that provides residents with balances and objective information to assist in their decision-making process to help Raleigh residents become active and informed voters.  

Recommendation 6: City Council should increase its size to nine by adding one district seat  

  • New maps - additional district seat option for 2024  
  • Odd number avoids deadlocks  
  • Nine Council seats falls between the average size of North Carolina peer cities  
  • District Councilmembers have lower financial barrier to entry, more likely to attract diverse, non-traditional candidates  
  • At-large seat can be added in 2022 so long that spring deadline (April/May) is met 



Tiesha Hinton 
Community Engagement Manager 
Office of Community Engagement 
1 Exchange Plaza, Raleigh NC 27601

City Council
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