City Council

The City of Palo Alto operates under a Council-City Manager style of government. The City Council, made up of seven members, is the governing body elected by the voters of Palo Alto. Every year, the City Council Members vote to select a new Mayor and Vice Mayor. The Council appoints the City Manager, Clerk, Attorney, and Auditor.

Key Responsibilities:
  • Set City‐wide priorities and policies and direct the City Manager to apply them
  • Make final decisions on all City matters
  • Adopt Ordinances and Resolutions
  • Approve the annual budget
  • Act as a Board of Appeals

Public Letters to City Council:

Email for correspondence to all of City Council.
Our Public Letters to Council are regularly updated to reflect public correspondence.

City Council Priorities

The City Council adopts priorities each year to focus on specific topics for the City at the City Council Retreat. The 2022 City Council Retreat is scheduled on February 5, 2022.

At their January 30th retreat, the City Council adopted four priorities for 2021:

1. Economic Recovery

Regarding COVID-19 impacts and public health, internal City-agency improvements and fiscal sustainability, and external recovery for private industries and local neighborhoods.

2. Housing for Social and Economic Balance

Focus on affordable and workforce housing, funding and achievable plans.

3. Social Justice

Commitment to the implementation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

4. Climate Change - Protection and Adaption

Adherence to a strong action plan to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

View the City Council Retreat Staff Report(PDF, 581KB) highlighting past Council priorities and community input gained to help inform this discussion.

State of the City Address

Every year, the Mayor of Palo Alto hosts a State of the City Address to celebrate the community, recognize accomplishments, and set goals. Public dignitaries, staff, and Palo Altans come together each year for this event. The 2022 State of the City will be held by Mayor Burt.

In 2021, former Mayor Tom DuBois hosted his State of the City Address to contemplate and celebrate the coming new year.

 Watch the 2021 State of the City Address



Palo Alto City Council

*Access more information on each City Council Member's profile, linked to their names.

Greg Tanaka

Council Member, City of Palo Alto

    Term Expiration
    December 31, 2024

  • Telephone(415) 968-9436
  • Email;
  • Office Hours

    Most Sundays from 2 - 4 p.m. For the safety of our constituents, we have temporarily moved all office hours to Zoom. Drop-in appointments are possible, but scheduled appointments are preferred. To schedule an appointment, please email


Council Procedures and Protocols Handbook

Palo Alto City Council strives to engage in effective and orderly meeting discussions for the City. The City Council Procedures and Protocols Handbook (Revision Date: 02/01/2020) is an informational guide on City Council's order of business and aims to enhance public participation. This handbook is organized into two sections: "Public Participation in Council Meetings" and "Council Meeting and Agenda Guidelines." The Policy and Services Committee annually reviews the handbook to ensure good parliamentary practices and protocols.

For more details, view the Procedures and Protocols Handbook(PDF, 288KB)