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.