Should Your City Adopt a Citywide Governance Policy?

Should Your City Adopt a Citywide Governance Policy?

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Should Your City Adopt a Citywide Governance Policy?As hundreds of agencies throughout the state are driven by the California Voting Rights Act to change to “by-district” elections, some cities are standing up for their belief that each city council member should continue to serve all community members – regardless of the district in which residents reside.

For example, the City of Napa moved from at-large elections to by-district elections in 2020 and completed a redistricting process in 2022. On December 20, 2022, Napa City Council adopted a resolution to codify their commitment to each council member serving the city as a whole.

According to the City of Napa, the Citywide Governance Policy came as a result of redistricting workshop conversations, where council members “shared the benefits of at-large governance: inclusive customer service, well-balanced allocation of taxpayer resources and overall consistency in City services.”

What might this emerging trend mean to you?

  • If your city has by-district elections:
    • Your city may want to consider adopting a Citywide Governance Policy. Take a look at the various factors that make your city unique – such as your city’s history, your city council and your community members – and determine if a Citywide Governance Policy is something to consider in your city.
  • If your city has at-large elections:
    • With at-large elections, every voter may vote for all council member seats regardless of where they live. Your council is already structured to represent the city as a whole, but you may want to keep the idea of a Citywide Governance Policy in mind in case it ever comes in handy in the future.
  • If your city is currently considering the transition to by-district elections:
    • Agencies seeking to comply with the California Voting Rights Act but maintain a commitment to serving all community members may be interested in considering a Citywide Governance Policy while considering the transition to by-district elections. Such a policy may address questions or concerns that may emerge related to “dividing” a city during the district formation process.

Whether or not you determine a Citywide Governance Policy makes sense for your city, know that Tripepi Smith is available to assist with any of your districting/redistricting engagement needs. We have extensive experience in launching districting websites, managing districting social media, producing creative elements ranging from flyers to animated videos, planning and executing public forums and conducting targeted outreach to community-based organizations.

To learn more and get in touch with our team, visit