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L-R Lewis, Drew, Estes, Weifenbach, Nordstrom, Allender, Doyle, Scott, Laurenti, Roberts, Wright
L-R Lewis, Drew, Estes, Weifenbach, Nordstrom, Allender, Doyle, Scott, Laurenti, Roberts, Wright
Rapid City Website
May 27, 2014

Rapid City Departments- Mayor and City Council

The mayor and city council of Rapid City are not a city department in the traditional sense, but are one of the twelve parts of the city's government. Under this heading are the mayor, his aides, and the council members.

Overview and History

The Common Council of the City of Rapid City, also known as the Rapid City Council or simply the City Council, is composed of ten elected aldermen, two from each of the five wards. The mayor, elected at large, presides over their meetings.

The city council and mayor were established in the city's Act of Incorporation, which spelled out rules and duties. At the time, Rapid City consisted of four wards, with one alderman elected from each ward.

This style of government, with a mayor and council, is know as Aldermanic. The city form of government changed to Commission in 1910, and then to City Manager in 1922. The Aldermanic form was re-established in 1957 (more information on forms of government can be found in the resource page).

Until 2016, the mayor and the city council members were elected for two-year terms, with one member of each ward up for election each year. Starting with the 2016 election, council members will be elected for staggered, three-year terms, with no elections every third year. Starting in 2019, the mayor will be elected for a four-year term.


The Mayor of Rapid City is the chief executive for the city. It is a full-time office. The mayor presides over city council meetings, but only votes to break a tie. The mayor can also veto ordinances passed by the council. Away from the council, the mayor is responsible for appointing department heads, except in cases where a board chooses the department's director.

Common Council

The council elects a president and vice-president each year when new council members are added. In the absence of the mayor, the council president presides over council meetings. Council members also join the Legal & Finance or the Public Works Committees.

The city council votes on approval of mayoral appointments and city ordinances.


All ordinances must be sponsored by a member of the city council; the mayor and city attorney may present ordinances, which council members may choose to sponsor. Ordinances are prepared by the city attorney or finance officer.

To become law, an ordinance must be approved by a majority of the council in two separate readings. The mayor may veto an ordinance, but the council may override with a two-thirds majority.

Additional Resources

Council Members - Current Rapid City Council members with contact information

Mayoral History of Rapid City - All the mayors of Rapid City, with links to biographies

Mayoral Powers - From the National League of Cities, common powers of a mayor

Rapid City Council Policies and Procedures

Rapid City Mayor's Office

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525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]