Kitchener is governed by a council of ten councillors, representing wards (or districts), and a mayor. Council is responsible for policy and decision making, monitoring the operation and performance of the city, analyzing and approving budgets and determining spending priorities. The residents of each ward vote for one person to be their city councillor; their voice and representative on city council. Kitchener residents also elect four councillors at large to sit with the mayor on the council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Municipal elections are held every four years in late October.
The current mayor of Kitchener is Carl Zehr, who was re-elected to his fifth term in October 2010, after first being elected in 1997 and then re-elected in 2000, 2003 and 2006. Before that, he sat as a municipal councillor from 1985-1994. See Kitchener City Council for a complete list of councillors.
In 1976, residents of Kitchener voted almost 2:1 in favour of a ward system. The first municipal election held under the ward system occurred in 1978. In 2010, the city underwent a ward boundary review. A consultant proposed boundaries for a 10-ward system for the 2010 municipal election, adding 4 additional councillors and wards to replace the previous 6-ward system.
The current Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Kitchener Centre is John Milloy. Other MPPs include Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Catherine Fife (Kitchener-Waterloo) who both represent small portions of the city in addition to adjacent areas. The federal and provincial electoral boundaries are now aligned and the federal Members of Parliament (MPs) as follows: Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo).
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