The City of Palm Desert, California, incorporated November 26, 1973, is centered in the heart of the Coachella Valley. Palm Desert is known as the cultural and retail center of the desert communities.
In 1997, voters approved changing Palm Desert’s designation from general law to a Charter City in order to preserve the historical principles of self-governance and derive the resulting social, economic, and fiscal benefits from local control. The City of Palm Desert, California employs the Council-Manager form of government. The City Council consists of five citizens elected to staggered four-year terms, with the position of Mayor rotating annually among the Council members. It is their job to legislate and determine policy.
The City Council appoints several key officials to advise them directly, of which the most critical is the City Manager, who appoints staff and supervises the daily administration of municipal affairs. Citizen-commissions and committees also aid the Council. All final decisions are made publicly and after open discussion at formal City Council meetings.
The City of Palm Desert, California is rated one of the safest cities in Southern California. The Police Department is contracted through the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The fire and paramedic service is similarly contracted.