Council-Manager Form of Government
The Council-Manager form of
Government is the system of Local Government that combines the strong
political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or
other governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an
appointed Local Government Manager. The form establishes a
representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected
Council and where the Council hires a professionally trained manager to
oversee the delivery of public services.
In Council-Manager Government, Council Members are the leaders and
policy makers elected to represent various segments of the community and
to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizenís needs
and wishes. The Manager is appointed by Council to carry out
policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. If
the Manager is not responsive to the Councilís wishes, the Council has
authority to terminate the Manager at any time. In that sense, a
Managerís responsiveness is tested daily.
The Council is the legislative body; its members are the communityís
decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected Council,
which approves the budget and determines the tax rate, for example.
The Council also focuses on the communityís goals, major projects, and
such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development,
capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning.
The Council hires a professional Manager to carry out the administrative
responsibilities and supervises the Managerís performance.
The Manager is hired to serve the Council and the community and to
bring to the Local Government the benefits of training and experience in
administering Local Government projects and programs on behalf of the
governing body. The Manager prepares a budget for the Council
consideration; recruits, hires, and supervises the Governmentís Staff,
serves as the Councilís Chief Adviser; and carries out the Councilís
policies. Council Members and citizens count on the Manager to
provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of
alternatives, and long-term consequences.
Mayors in Council-Manager communities (or chairpersons in counties)
are key political leaders and policy developers. In the case of the
Council, the Mayor is responsible for soliciting citizen views in
forming these policies and interpreting them to the public. The Mayor
presides at Council meetings, serves as a spokesperson for the
community, facilitates communication and understanding between elected
and appointed officials, assists the Council in setting goals and
advocating policy decisions, and serves as a promoter and defender of
the community. In addition, the Mayor serves as a key representative in
intergovernmental relations. The Mayor, Council, and Manager constitute
a policy-development and management team.
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