Form of Government

This information was taken from the Lawrence City Charter (PDF). The administration of the fiscal, prudential and municipal affairs of the city, with the government hereof, shall be vested in an executive branch, to consist of the mayor, and the legislative powers shall be vested in a legislative branch, to consist of the city council.


There shall be a mayor, elected by and from the voters, who shall be the chief executive officer of the city. The executive powers of the city shall be vested in the mayor and may be exercised by him either personally or through the several city agencies under his general supervision and control. The mayor shall cause the laws, ordinances and orders for the government of the city to be enforced, and he shall cause a record of all his official acts to be kept.

The mayor shall appoint all city officers, department heads, directors and members of multiple member bodies for whom no other method of appointment or selection is provided by the charter, excepting only officers serving under the school committee, officers appointed by the Commonwealth, and persons serving under the City Council.

City Council

There shall be a city council consisting of nine members which shall exercise the legislative powers of the city. Six of these members, to be known as district councilors, shall be nominated and elected by and from the voters of six council districts, one district councilor to be elected from each such district. Three of the members to be known as councilors at large, shall be nominated and elected by and from the voters of the city at large. The city council shall elect a city clerk, city attorney, and three persons who shall serve as the board of assessors, who shall serve until their successors are qualified.

Board of Assessors

Three persons shall be elected to serve as the board of assessors, and shall exercise the powers and duties subject to the liabilities under existing laws. All taxes shall be assessed and apportioned and abated in the manner prescribed by the laws of the Commonwealth.

City Clerk

The city clerk shall have the care and custody of all:

  • Bonds of city offices
  • City records
  • Contracts
  • Documents
  • Plans and papers
  • Vital statistics

They shall have such powers and duties with respect to the regulation and supervision of elections and the issuance of licenses as are provided by law.

City Attorney

The city attorney shall draft all:

  • Agreements
  • Bonds
  • Contracts
  • Conveyances
  • Deeds
  • Leases
  • Obligations

They also draft other legal instruments which may be required of him by ordinance, or by order of the mayor or of the city council. It shall be the duty of the city attorney to commence and prosecute all actions and suits for the city before any tribunal. He shall appear in defense and protect the interests of the city, or of any officer thereof in any suit of prosecution for any act or omission in the discharge of their official public duties.