Wallingford has a Mayor-Council form of government adopted by a Charter effective January 1, 1962 and amended November 4, 1969, November 6, 1973, November 3, 1981, November 7, 1989 and November 7, 2017. The Town Council consists of nine members with minority representation guaranteed.
Elections for the Mayor, Council and other Town elected officials are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November of each odd number year for a term of two years including the nine members of the Board of Education who are elected for terms of two years, except that, at the 1991 election, those members of the Board of Education serving a four-year term shall complete said terms (Charter change of November 7, 1989). The Mayor is elected separately from the Council. The Council elects a Chairman who is the presiding officer. Councilmen are compensated, which is set by the annual budget ordinance, but no member shall hold any other appointive office or employment under the Town government during his term of office. The term of all officers commences on the first Monday after the succeeding January 1st. The Mayor casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie vote on filling a vacancy on the Council.
The Mayor, in accordance with the Town Charter, Chapter V, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Town. He is directly responsible for the administration of all departments, agencies, and offices; ensures all laws and ordinances governing the Town are faithfully executed; attends all Council meetings; makes reports to the Council; recommends to the Council such measures he deems necessary; submits the annual budget to the Council, keeps the Council fully advised as to the financial condition of the Town; and exercises other powers and duties as may be required by ordinance or resolution of the Council. The Council cannot diminish by ordinance, vote or otherwise, the powers and duties of the Mayor, except those powers and duties imposed on him by the Council.
In addition to all the powers and privileges conferred in the Charter, the inhabitants have the powers and privileges conferred and granted to towns and cities under the Constitution and General Statutes of Connecticut. The legislative power of the Town is vested exclusively in the Council except as otherwise provided in the Charter. The Council has the power to enact, amend or repeal ordinances consistent with the Charter or the General Statutes and shall have at least one public hearing before any ordinance shall be passed except ordinances relating to appointments or designation of officers or to the Council or its procedures. The electors have the power to approve or reject at a referendum instituted by written petition, as provided in the Charter any ordinance including an ordinance or other action appropriating or committing money, except a budget ordinance or resolution appointing or removing officials, transfers within an approved fiscal budget specifying the compensation or hours of work of officials and employees, authorizing the levy of taxes or fixing of the tax rate. The electors, to initiate a referendum, must within 30 days after approval of any resolution or ordinance, file with the Town Clerk a petition signed in ink by at least 10% of the registered voters at the last municipal election requesting such ordinances or resolutions either be repealed or submitted to a vote of the electors.