City Council of Sharn

Nature: Body of government

Many make the mistake of assuming that the Lord Mayor of Sharn holds the greatest power within the city. In fact, the City Council appoints the Lord Mayor, and the commanders of the Sharn Watch report to the Council. The Council of Sharn is comprised of 17 councilors: one from each of the wards of the city, with Cliffside merged into Dura and a single councilor representing all of the Cogs. They hold their official meetings in the Council Hall, at the top of Sun Tower.

The precise method by which a councilor is appointed varies from ward to ward. In theory, it is a diplomatic selection made by the leaders of the ward, but what it takes to be a “leader” varies considerably. In some wards, anyone with a certain amount of income or property can participate in ward councils and elections. In others, ward elections are entirely in the hands of trade guilds, noble families, or other power groups.

While in theory each councilor has an equal voice, in practice the influence of a councilor is derived from his backers. Likewise, while each councilor is supposed to represent the interests of his or her ward, a councilor usually puts his backers first, his personal district second, and his ward third.

The City Council commands a variety of powers. The Council establishes the laws of the city, although if they wish to pass a law that completely contradicts the Code of Galifar or the traditions of Brelish Law, the crown or parliament might have something to say about it. Laws may vary per ward, allowing a councilor to shift the traditions of the city to benefit his backers. The Council also determines how to use the resources of Sharn, from taxes to the power of the Sharn Watch. Finally, the Council appoints the high officers of the city, including the Lord Mayor.

The councilors do not appoint the city’s representatives to the Breland Parliament; following the democratic traditions of the nation, the three legislators are elected by popular vote, with every legitimate resident of Sharn having the right to participate. However, the Council manages and administers the election, and councilors can usually exercise a considerable amount of influence over the voters in their districts, whether through charisma or graft.

Members of the Breland Parliament serve two-year terms, city councilors serve for three years, and the Lord Mayor's performance is usually reviewed every four years. There are no term limits, and quite often an election passes with no changes whatsoever.

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