Five directly elected officials comprise the City Council. The terms of office are staggered. The mayor's position is rotated annually by selection of the City Council. The City Council is the policy-making body of the City of Clearlake and, in that capacity, approves and adopts ordinances and resolutions and takes action on other policy matters to provide community leadership. The City Council appoints the city manager and city attorney, as well as various commission, board, and committee members.
The council also directs staff on matters that meet the community's needs and service levels. In that process, the council oversees the financial condition of the city making the final determination on its ability to afford various programs and services. The council has served as the board of directors of the now dissolved Clearlake Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and now sits as the RDA's successor agency.