Council-Manager Form of Government
- How does the council-manager form of government work?
The elected council establishes policies that affect the overall operation of the city. To ensure that these policies are carried out and that the entire community is equitably served, the council appoints a highly trained professional manager on the basis of his/her education, experience, skills, and abilities (and not their political allegiances). The council also appoints the city attorney and the municipal court judge(s).
- How does the council-manager government benefit the community?
Political power is concentrated in the entire governing body. Policy making resides with elected officials, while oversight of the day-to-day operations of the city resides with the manager. In this way, the elected officials are free to devote time to policy planning and development. The manager carries out the policies established by the elected governing body with an emphasis on effective, efficient, and equitable service delivery.
Because decisions on policy and the future of the city are made by the entire governing body rather than a single individual, council-manager governments more often engage and involve their residents in decision making. Residents help guide their community by serving on boards and commissions, participating in visioning and strategic planning, and designing community-oriented local government services.
- What is the role of the manager under council-manager government?
The manager is hired to serve the council and the community and brings to the local government the benefits of his/her training and experience in administering municipal projects and programs. The manager prepares a budget for the council's consideration; recruits, hires, terminates, and supervises government staff; serves as the council's chief advisor; and carries out the council's policies. Council members and residents count on the manager to provide complete and objective information about local operations, discuss the pros and cons of alternatives, and offer an assessment of the long-term consequences of their decisions.
Appointed managers serve at the pleasure of the governing body. The manager makes policy recommendations to the council for consideration and final decision. The manager is bound by whatever action the council takes, and control is always in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.
- What is the role of the council?
The council is the city's legislative and policy-making body. Power is centralized in the elected council, which, for example, approves the budget and determines the tax rate. The council also focuses on the city's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement and financing, and strategic planning. The council hires a professional manager to implement the administrative responsibilities related to these goals and supervises the manager's performance.
- What is the role of the Mayor?
Mayors in council-manager cities are key political and policy leaders, and their specific duties, responsibilities, and authorities depend on the organization's charter. The City of Alvin Charter does not allow for the mayor to vote on business before the council. However, in case of a tie vote on council, the mayor is called upon to break the tie. The mayor is the presiding officer at council meetings, represents the city in intergovernmental relationships, appoints members of citizen advisory boards and commissions (with the advice and consent of council), facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, and assists the council in setting goals and advocating policy decisions.