City Council Handbook


We are pleased to welcome you as a new City Council Member and look forward to working with you!

This handbook is provided to kick off your time as a Council Member and serve as a reference for all City Council Members.  The community relies on people like you to represent their interests through the local government process. Our job as city staff is to support the Council as they navigate the legislative process and represent the best interests of the City of Falls Church.

The City Council performs a valuable public service in addressing community issues and shaping the future of the City of Falls Church. Public service carries certain responsibilities and this handbook aims to help you meet those responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed by them.

Please be assured that we, as City Council's staff, are here to support you and the entire City Council. We and our staff look forward to a collaborative working relationship and to providing great municipal services that meet the community's needs and expectations.


City Manager Wyatt Shields

City Attorney Sally Gillette

City Clerk Celeste Heath

This handbook is a comprehensive reference for City Council Members. The following pages hold brief explanations along with links to more in depth resources. Select the links below to read more about the subject matter covered in each section.

Section 1. Overview

  • A general overview of the City Council and the Falls Church community.

Section 2. City Charter and Rules of the Council

  • An outline of the government structure surrounding the City Council, including the Council/Manager form of government; City Charter; City Code regarding Council; City Council Rules of Procedure; the Dillon Rule; and working with staff and advisory bodies.

Section 3. Communications

  • The most common ways that the city communicates with the public and how the public can communicate with City Council.

Section 4. Public Records and Public Meetings

  • State laws on public records and public meetings.

Section 5. Ethics and Conflicts of Interest

  • State ethics law.

Section 6. Budget and Finance

  • The budget process and how to find information on the City of Falls Church's financial overview.

Section 7. Land Use

  • The land use process and City Council's role.

Section 8. Additional Resources

  • Additional helpful resources.