Article XI: General Provisions

Section 11.01 Removal of Officers: Any officer or employee to whom the city manager, or a head of any office, department, or agency, may appoint a successor, may be removed by the city manager or other appointing officer at any time. Subject to the provisions of civil service laws and ordinance, the decision of the city manager, or other appointing officer shall be final.

Section 11.02 Officers in Council: The city manager, the heads of all departments, and such other officers of the city as may be designated by vote of the city council, shall be entitled to seats in the city council, but shall have no vote therein. The city manager shall have the right to take part in the discussion of all matters coming before the city council and the directors and other officers shall be entitled to take part in all discussions of the city council relating to their respective officers, departments, or agencies.

Section 11.03 Practice of Law by Officials, When Permitted: Nothing contained in this charter shall prohibit the city attorney, police judge, or municipal judge, if and to the extent permitted by state law, from engaging in the private practice of law, but they shall not seek nor accept any fee or reward for any of their official services nor seek nor accept any employment that would conflict with the discharge of their official duties; nor shall they be engaged as attorney for either party in any civil action or for a party to any criminal proceeding depending upon the same facts as such criminal proceeding. Provided, further, that the city council may at any time place the city attorney upon a full time basis.

Section 11.04 Investigations: The city council, or any person or committee authorized by either of them, shall have power to inquire into the conduct of any office, department, agency, or officer of the city and to make investigations as to municipal affairs; and, for that purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and compel the production of books, papers, and other evidence.

Section 11.05 Contracts Beyond One Year: No contract involving the payment of money out of the appropriations of more than one year shall be made for a period of more than five years; nor shall any such contract be valid unless made or approved by ordinance.

Section 11.06 Publicity: All records and accounts of every office, department, or agency of the city shall be open to inspection by any citizen, any representative of a citizen's organization, or any representative of the press or radio at all reasonable times and under reasonable regulations established by the city manager, except records and documents, the disclosure of which would tend to defeat the lawful purpose which they are intended to accomplish.

Section 11.07 Personal Interest: No member of the city council or any officer or employee of the city shall derive a personal profit, direct or indirect, from any contract or in the sale to the city or to a contractor supplying the city or any land or rights or interests in any land, material, supplies, or services. Provided, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any contract or any work, or the purchase of any material, goods, or supplies when the expenditure thereof in any calendar month does not exceed the amount set by state law. Any willful violation of this section shall constitute malfeasance in office, and any officer or employee of the city found guilty thereof shall thereby forfeit the office or position. Any violation of this section with the knowledge express or implied of the person or corporation contracting with the city shall render the contract voidable by the city manager or the city council. (As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1984.)

Section 11.08 Expenses Allowable: The fact that this charter fixes the salary or other compensation of any city officer shall not prevent the allowance of reasonable and necessary expenses paid or incurred in the performance of duties.

Section 11.09 Official Bonds: The city council may by ordinance require an official bond, conditioned upon faithful performance of official duties, from any officer or employee before they enter upon their official duties, and shall prescribe the terms and penalty thereof and the surety therefor, and shall be approved by the director of finance. The premiums on such bonds shall be paid by the city.

Section 11.10 Oath of Office: Every officer of the city shall, before entering upon the duties of such office, take and subscribe to the following oath of affirmation, to be filed and kept in the office of the city clerk: "I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution and will obey the laws of the United States and of the State of Washington, that I will, in all respects, observe the provisions of the charter and ordinances of the City of Vancouver, and will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ."

Section 11.11 Oaths: The mayor, mayor pro tempore, city clerk, and the city attorney shall have power to administer oaths in the performance of the duties of their offices or the transaction of the city's business.

Section 11.12 Claims: Any claim for damages against the city shall comply with the require­ments of state law and with such requirements as city council may establish by ordinance under state law. Unless such requirements are complied with, such claim shall be barred.  (As amended by vote of the people November 3, 2009, and November 6, 1984.)

Section 11.13 Effect of Charter: All ordinances and parts of ordinances of the City of Vancouver in conflict with provisions of this charter are hereby repealed. All ordinances not in conflict with this charter are continued in full force and effect.

Section 11.14 Amendments: Amendments to this charter may be submitted to the voters by the city council or by petition of the voters, or a new charter may be drafted and submitted, in the manner provided by the constitution and laws of the state.

Section 11.15 Short Title: This charter, adopted by the people of the City of Vancouver, shall be known and may be cited as the "Council/Manager Charter of 1952."

Section 11.16 Separability Clause: If any section or part of section of this charter shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect the remainder of this charter nor the context in which such section or part of section so held invalid may appear, except to the extent that an entire section or part of section may be inseparably connected in meaning and effect with the section or part of section to which such holding shall directly apply.

Section 11.17 Periodic Reviews of Charter: No later than five years after the most recent charter review, the mayor shall appoint, subject to city council confirmation, a panel of fifteen residents to review the city charter and to recommend to the city council in time to be considered for that year's election any charter changes or amendments which the panel believes should be put to a vote of the people, and the council shall thereafter place any such amendment on the ballot at the next municipal election if a majority of the city council so determines; provided nothing herein shall interfere with the right of citizens to, by petition, require an election to be held for any charter amendment or to cause a freeholder election to be held for a proposed new city charter, nor shall it interfere with the right of the city council to, at any time, propose and submit proposed charter amendments to the voters. (Added by vote of the people in November 1977. As amended by vote of the people on November 6, 1979.)

Section 11.18 Deletion of Charter Terms Referring to Masculine or Feminine Gender: Future amendments to the city charter shall require the use of terms which are neither masculine nor feminine, unless the context of such charter provision shall require otherwise.

The city clerk, with approval of the city attorney, is authorized to change the provisions of the city charter to delete use of terms which are masculine or feminine, unless the context of such charter provision shall require otherwise. (As added by vote of the people on November 6, 1984.)