Charter cities are organized under and governed by a charter adopted by local voters rather than the general laws of the State. By way of their local charter, charter cities may adopt their own procedures for matters that are considered “municipal affairs.” Charter cities’ ability to regulate their own municipal affairs is frequently referred to as their “home rule” authority.
One of the advantages of being a charter city is the ability to proscribe their own public bidding requirements for local public works projects. While general law cities must abide by the general laws of the State governing local public works projects, which include requiring contractors to pay prevailing wage, charter cities may follow the procedures set forth in their charter. The California Supreme Court confirmed this in the 2012 case of State Building and Construction Trades Council of California v. City of Vista. In the Vista decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of