The Court of Common Council is the deliberative body of the City’s system of government. The Court is comprised of 25 Aldermen (one for each of the City’s wards) and 100 Common Councilmen. Both the Aldermen and the Common Councilmen are elected by a combination of residents living in the City and businesses with premises in the City. The reason for this unique arrangement is that the City has a tiny residential population compared to those that work in the City and have their business located there.
The Common Councilmen are elected for a 4 year term and the number of Common Councilmen differs from ward to ward depending on the density of the electoral population (both residents and businesses). Most of the committee work of the Common Council is performed by the Common Councilmen.
The precise ratio of commuters who come in to the City each working day and make use of the City’s services compared with those who are resident in the City fluctuates based upon economic conditions, but it is usually between 43:1 or 48:1. The businesses in the City are therefore allocated about 80% of the votes, and since many wards have less than 100 residents compared to tens of thousands of commuting workers the ratio of business votes to residential votes of around 4:1 is actually skewed enormously toward the residents.