Council-manager government

Council-manager government

In the council-manager form of government, an elected city council (typically between five and 11 people) is responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, voting appropriations, and having overall supervisory authority in the city government. In such a government, the mayor (or equivalent executive) will perform strictly ceremonial duties or will act as a member and presiding officer of the council, similar to a chairman. The council will appoint a city manager or administrator who will be responsible for supervising government operations and implementing the policies adopted by the council. The manager serves the council, usually with a contract that specifies duties and responsibilities. Ideally, the manager is apolitical, but this is often difficult.

Municipal governments are usually administratively divided into several departments, depending on the size of the city. Though cities differ in the division of responsibility, the typical arrangement is to have the following departments handle the following roles:
#Urban planning and zoning:
#Economic development and tourism
#Public works - construction and maintenance of all city-owned or operated assets, including the water supply system, sewer, streets, stormwater, snow removal, street signs, vehicles, buildings, land, etc.
#Parks and recreation - construction and maintenance of city parks, common areas, parkways, publicly-owned land, operation of various recreation programs and facilities
#Emergency medical services
#Emergency management
#Accounting/finance - often tax collection, audits
#Human resources - for city workers
#Legal counsel/risk management - legal matters such as writing municipal bonds, ensuring city compliance with state and federal law, responding to citizen lawsuits stemming from city actions or inactions.
#Transportation (varies widely) - if the city has a municipal bus or light rail service, this function may be its own department or it may be folded into the another of the above departments.
#Information technology - supports computer systems used by city employees; may be also responsible for a city website, phones and other systems.
#Housing department

The council-manager system can be seen to place all power into the hands of the legislative branch. However, a city manager can be seen as a similar role to that of corporate chief executive officer (CEO) in providing professional management to an organization. Council-manager government is much like a publicly-traded corporation. In a corporation, the board of directors appoints a CEO, makes major decisions and wields representative power on behalf of shareholders. In council-manager government, the city council appoints a city manager, makes major decisions, and wields representative power on behalf of the citizens.

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) is a professional organization for city managers. It was founded in 1914, and has more than 8000 members worldwide.

In New England, where municipal government is often invested in an incorporated town, the city manager may be called town manager, and the council can often be referred to its traditional name of board of selectmen.

History of the council-manager government in the United States

Phoenix, Arizona is the largest city in the United States to have a Council-Manager form of government. cite web | url= | title=From the Mayor's Office | publisher=City of Phoenix| accessdate=2008-09-04]

Sumter, South Carolina has the distinction of being the first city in the United States to successfully implement this form of government, known as council-manager government.

The progressive-inspired city-manager system of government was designed to remove politics from municipal administration.

History of the council-manager government in the Republic of Ireland

Following the turmoil of the first world war 1914-1918, 1916 rising, Irish War of Independence 1919-1921 and Irish Civil War 1921-1923. The Irish Government found it necessary to remove the members of several local authorities and replace them temporarily by paid commissioners.

Both Dublin and Cork city councils were so removed. In both cities there was a body of opinion that the services provided by the councils were delivered more efficiently and fairly under the commissioners that under the previous system where the executive function was in effect vested in the Councils and their committees.

In 1926 a committee of commercial and industrial interests in Cork came together to consider a scheme of city government and having regard to the city's experience of commissioners and recent experience in the United states a council-manager plan of city government woas proposed. After discussion between the Minister for Local Government and local representatives, the Minister, Richard Mulcahy, introduced as a Government measure The Cork City Management Bill, 1929 and it became law despite opposition. The Minister proposed and the Oireachtas enacted similar provision for Dublin City in 1930. Similar laws were passed for Limerick in 1934 and Waterford in 1939 under the Fianna Fáil Government

Under the County (Management) Act, 1940, which was brought into operation in August 1942 A County Manager is manager of every borough or town in that county but has since the 1990s has power to delegate these functions to any officer of thet Borough or Town Council

The system was also modified in subsequent legislation particularly The City and County Management (Amendment) Act, 1955, which made some adjustments to give greater power to the council members and the Local Government (reorganization act)1985 which provided for the Council- manager system in Galway City on its being detached for Local Government purposes from Galway County

Note the above acts are now replaced (in substantially the same form) by the Local Government Act 2001

ee also

*City commission government
*"Managing Urban America" -- David R. Morgan & Robert E. England (1999)

External links

* [ City Mayors feature on US council managers]
* [ The International City/County Management Association]

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