Cerritos operates under a Council/Manager form of government, established by the Charter of the City of Cerritos which was drafted in 1958. The five-member City Council acts as the City’s chief policy-making body. In March of odd numbered years, Councilmembers are elected by the citizens of Cerritos to serve four-year, overlapping terms. Councilmembers who serve two consecutive four-year terms are not eligible, for a period of two years, to seek reelection or be appointed to the Cerritos City Council. The Mayor, selected by the Council, is its presiding officer and serves a one-year term. In the Mayor’s absence the Mayor Pro Tem assumes his or her responsibilities.
A City Manager is appointed by the City Council. The City Manager ensures the City’s policies are implemented and oversees the City’s six departments: Administrative Services, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Community Development, Community & Safety Services, Public Works and Water and Power.
Two other positions are appointed by the City Council: The City Attorney and the City Clerk/Treasurer. The City Attorney’s responsibilities include representing and advising the City in legal matters. The City Clerk/Treasurer is the Election Official, custodian of the City’s records and serves as Clerk of the Council.
Advisory boards, made up of individuals appointed by the Council, provide guidance in determining how to meet the City’s needs and include the following: Fine Arts and Historical Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission, Property Preservation Commission, Community Safety Committee and the Let Freedom Ring Committee.