As the central and chief policy-making body for the District of Columbia, the Council’s mission is to provide strong, innovative and effective leadership for the benefit of residents across the city. The Council’s central role as a legislative body is to make laws. However, its responsibilities also include oversight of multiple agencies, commissions, boards and other instruments of District government. Led by the Council Chairman, the 13 members of the Council are working to improve the quality of life in District neighborhoods by ensuring safer streets, furthering education reform, developing a vibrant economy, and implementing groundbreaking programs. Working with the Mayor and the executive branch, the Council also plays a critical role in maintaining a balanced budget and the fiscal health of the District of Columbia government.
The Council has instituted several measures to ensure that the city government works. Council committees review the performance of government programs and agencies to ensure they are serving their established purposes and operating under pertinent regulations and budget targets. The Council also holds annual budget oversight hearings in preparation for approving a city budget recommended by the Mayor. The law requires that the District operate with a balanced budget so expenditures do not exceed income.
Responding to constituents’ concerns is a major responsibility for the Council. Staff members are assigned to find solutions for problems and address complaints. You can contact your Councilmember’s office directly, call the Council’s general line at (202) 724-8000.
The Council is comprised of 13 members (Meet the Council) – a representative elected from each of the eight wards and five members, including the Chairman, elected at-large. The Council conducts its work through standing committees (Council Organizational Chart ) that perform legislative research, bill drafting, budget review, program and policy analysis, and constituent services.
The Council is in session year-round with a few short recesses during the summer and winter/early spring. Council hearings and roundtables are usually held at the Wilson Building, where each member also has an office.