City Organization & Roles
Who Does What in City Government?
Lakewood is a general law city. The five city council members are elected for overlapping four-year terms. The mayor is selected by the council from among its members and serves for a one-year term. The city council appoints a city manager and a city attorney. In addition, the council appoints the Community Safety Commission, the Planning and Environment Commission, and the Recreation and Community Services Commission. The city council also sits as the Board of Directors of the Lakewood Redevelopment Agency and the Lakewood Housing Authority.
City Structure and the Lakewood Plan
To understand how Lakewood can efficiently and effectively serve its residents, it's important to know what services the city provides and how a Lakewood Plan city operates.
Lakewood is a general law city. It is a municipal corporation under the general laws for cities enacted by the state legislature.
The five members of the city council are elected at-large to serve a four-year term of office. There are no city council districts. Each year, the city council reorganizes, selecting one council member to serve as mayor and another as vice mayor. Click for council member profile pages.
Lakewood is also a council/manager city with a city manager appointed by the city council. The city manager administers Lakewood’s municipal programs under the policies set by the council. In addition:
- The City Clerk is responsible for maintaining and providing access to public records and overseeing city elections.
- The Personnel Department has information about city employment.
- The Community Development Department has a Building Section for construction permits and inspections, a Housing Section for home improvement loans and fair housing help, a Planning Section for zoning and planning, and a Community Conservation Section to resolve unsightly property conditions.
- The Administrative Services Department oversees the city budget, water and trash billing, purchasing office, business licenses, parking control officers, and computer systems.
- The Public Works Department supervises contracts for highway maintenance, street sweeping, trash collection, animal control, street light maintenance, street tree maintenance, and traffic signal repair. The department also supervises the city employees who maintain municipal buildings and equipment.
- The Water Resources Department manages the city’s water utility, which serves more than 20,000 households west of the San Gabriel River. The department also operates the city’s reclaimed water system. The reclaimed system saves over 140 million gallons of drinking water a year--enough to satisfy the needs of 900 Lakewood families.
- The Recreation and Community Services Department manages more than 160 acres of recreational open space, the recreation programs at ten major parks, and human service programs at three community service centers. The department also supervises the city’s DASH specialized transportation service, and provides landscape maintenance for parks and city facilities.
Lakewood City Council meetings are held twice each month--on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month--in the City Council Chambers at The Centre at Sycamore Plaza. City Council meetings are open to the public. They begin at 7:30 p.m.
City Council meetings are broadcast live on the web, CityTV channel 31 on both cable and FIOS. Meetings are repeated following the council meeting.
Lakewood residents serve on Lakewood’s three advisory commissions. Each is composed of five members appointed by the city council to a two-year term. Commission meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. They are open to the public.
- The Community Safety Commission studies traffic control and related issues. The commission meets on the first Monday of the month.
- The Planning and Environment Commission develops policies for land use, zoning and the city’s General and Specific Plans. The commission meets on the first Thursday of the month.
- The Recreation and Community Services Commission studies issues related to Lakewood’s recreational programs and social services. The commission meets on the second Wednesday of the month.