Politics in Blackfen
The city of Blackfen is governed by the City Council, a semi-elected body who represent all of the people of the city and the surrounding districts, including Kirn. The decisions made by the Council are final and can only be challenged by the monarch, who can, if he so wishes, choose to overrule any decree that he dislikes. On such occasions, the representatives of the King are usually petitioned by those opposed to the new law or laws.
The City Council of Blackfen is a semi-elected body, with five of the ten being elected to their positions and the remaining having permanent seats. Those voted onto the Council receive a mandate to control city affairs for a 10-year period, after which they must stand for re-election. The five permanent seats go to one representative each for the dwarves, elves and halflings, one to the the Honorable Magistrate Divine of Fandor and one to the High Sage of the Apothecaries, Alchemist's and Arcanists Guild.
The majority of the population have no mandate to vote, as it is granted only through royal proclamation, meaning that this privilege is generally granted only to those deemed most deserving, giving them great leverage in controlling political affairs at a local level. The position of First Member of the Council (the head of the Council) is granted by a majority vote from the City Council members and is elected for 5 years, after which he must stand again for re-election, which always occurs in the middle of the 10-year term of the Council members.
The City Council represents the highest political authority in Blackfen, controlling nearly every aspect of running the city efficiently. Although they are responsible for raising taxes - through tax collectors - they have no control over taxation policy, which is ultimately set at a state level. While the city takes a percentage of all the revenue raised, the rest is carted off to the national coffers where it primarily goes towards the war effort against Zykerathox. As the war has continued, so Blackfen has seen its share of tax revenue reduced and like most other places throughout Karnish and its Empire, taxation is a hot political topic causing some unrest amongst the population.
The City Council of Blackfen is comprised of 10 of its most significant individuals, with the First Member's vote counting as two and everyone else's as one (with one exception, see below). The First Member also elects the Second Member of the Council, who oversees the Council should the First Member be unable to do so for any reason and whose vote, when chairing the Council, also counts as 2 (though only as 1 in all other circumstances).
Unusually, in Blackfen the Holy Magistrate Divine of Fandor not only has a permanent seat upon the Council, but also has a double weighted vote, giving them a significant influence over Council matters and city affairs. This unusual arrangement was a royal decree dating back over 400 years when the then Holy Magistrate Divine of Fandor lent his support to the eventual heir to the throne during the Third War of Ascendency. As a reward, he was given a permanent seat on the Council with a double-weighted vote and only a second royal decree can overrule this, much to the chagrin of many in Blackfen.
The present incumbents of the City Council are:
Firstock Derramond, First Member
Heshog, Second Member
Desmorda Granger, Permanent Seat
Ferilias Ommorl, Permanent Seat
Varial Orphedus, Permanent Seat
Krilnoch Silverbeard, Permanent Seat
Jarrus Yarmord, Permanent Seat
Although the City Council make the final political decisions that affect Blackfen, it is the 8 Department Governors (elected by the Council) and the 8 departmental bodies they control who are required to execute the will of the Council. Each Department Governor is in charge of a large body of clerks through which the actual process of governing Blackfen is achieved. They are generally busy, officious and very knowledgeable about departmental affairs and the governance of Blackfen. Those requiring contact with city officials will deal mostly with junior city clerks, with only the more important issues coming to the attention of senior city clerks. Only very rarely will access be granted to a Department Governor or a member of the City Council.
The eight governmental departments of are:
Department of Building, Planning and Repair
Department of Sanitation
Department of Inspection, Tax and the Treasury
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Race Relations
Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Justice and Political Affairs
Department of City Control and Defense