The council - manager form of local government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council with strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. Approximately 47% of US cities with populations of 5,000 or more adopted the council - manager form.
The Role of the City Council
The mayor and City Council members act as the political head of the city. They are responsible for setting policy, approving the budget, determining the tax rate, and formulating broad long-term policies that outline the City's public function. The manager is appointed by the council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. The manager makes policy recommendations to the council, but the council may or may not adopt them and may modify their recommendations. The manager is bound by whatever policy action the council takes.
We have commissions that are specialized in specific subjects. The commissions make recommendations to the council. The council makes decisions based on those recommendations.
Responsibilities of the City Manager's Office
The primary responsibility of a city manager is to implement the policies of elected City Council. In addition, in the council - manager government, the manager assumes responsibility for:
- preparing the annual budget;
- hiring and firing personnel;
- directing day-to-day operations;
- attending council meetings;
- recommending policies or programs to the City Council;
- keeping the council fully advised of the financial and other conditions of the city; and
- supply the council with information to aid decision making.