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The City Charter is the first governing document we turn to for information and clarification regarding City policy.

On November 1, 1983, the citizens of Lakewood adopted a home rule Charter to guide officials in the daily operations of City functions. Among other things, this Charter established a council‑manager form of government, with the City Council consisting of ten members, elected two from each of five wards with four‑year overlapping terms and a Mayor elected at large, also for a four‑year term. The position of City Manager, appointed by the City Council, was made the chief administrative officer. The Charter also provided for an independent municipal court with municipal judges appointed by the City Council upon recommendation of a judicial nominating committee. Subsequent to their appointment, each judge of the municipal court stands for retention in office through an election. A 1999 Amendment allowed for the appointment of part time judges by the presiding Municipal Judge.

After almost eight years of operation under the original Charter, city officials proposed five changes to clarify specific provisions in the areas of the City Council's ability to hold executive sessions, the administrative positions of City Clerk and City Treasurer, the date of the regular municipal election, the duties of the Board of Adjustment, and the notification process for annual public hearings on the city budget. These housekeeping amendments, designed to bring Lakewood into conformance with state statutes and existing city policy, were approved by the voters of Lakewood on November 5, 1991. Three additional housekeeping amendments pertaining to the qualifications for municipal office and to term limitations were approved by the voters on November 3, 1992. On November 2, 1999, voters approved three ballot questions, amending the City Charter to bring initiative and referendum procedures into conformance with state law; to clarify provisions of the personnel merit system; and to change the appointment process for part-time municipal judges and eliminate the requirement that part-time judges be subsequently retained in office by municipal election. On November 2, 2004, voters approved charter amendments pertaining to qualifications for City Council office and to change the date for regular municipal elections to coincide with TABOR elections per the Colorado Constitution.

This Charter of the City of Lakewood includes all provisions currently in effect and supersedes all previous charters.

Adopted November 1, 1983
Amended November 5, 1991
Amended November 3, 1992
Amended November 2, 1999
Amended November 2, 2004