In all cities and towns at the general election to be held on the fourth Tuesday in August, 1984, and quadrennially thereafter, there shall be elected a mayor, who, in cities having a population of 12,000 or more according to the last or any subsequent federal census, shall not sit with the council nor have a vote in its proceedings, and he shall have the power and duties conferred in this chapter.
In all cities and towns having a population of less than 12,000 inhabitants according to the last or any subsequent federal census, the legislative functions shall be exercised by the mayor and five aldermen. The mayor shall preside over all deliberations of the council. At his discretion he may vote as a member of the council on any question coming to a vote, except in case of a tie, in which event he must vote.
The aldermen in such cities or towns shall be elected by the city or town at large at the first general election held on the fourth Tuesday in August, 1984, and quadrennially thereafter, or from wards as the said councils may determine, not less than six months before an election, and shall receive such salary as the council may prescribe, which must be fixed by the council not less than six months prior to each general municipal election.
Provided, however, the six-month requirement in this section may be waived when necessary to comply with a mandate by the U.S. Justice Department pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, or with an order issued by a state or federal court.