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The Council-Manager form is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials 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, the Mayor and Council members are the leaders and policy makers elected to represent of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes. The Manager is appointed by Council to carry out it's policy and ensure that the entire community is being served.
No. One of the most attractive features is that the Council-Manager form is adaptable to local conditions and preferences. For example, some communities have Councils that are elected at large while other Councils are elected by ward or by a combination of an at-large and by-ward structure. Some local governments have Mayors who are elected by the voters at large; others are elected by their colleagues on the Council. City of Klamath Falls City Council members are elected by their five individual Wards and the Mayor is elected at large by the entire City.
The Council is the legislative body: it's members are the community's 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 community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as:
The Council hires a professional manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and the Council supervises the manager's performance.
Mayors in Council-Manager communities (or chairpersons in counties) are key political leaders and policy developers. Their duties, responsibilities, and authorities depend on the organization's charter. In Council-Manager communities, typically the Mayor:
In addition, the Mayor serves as a key City representative in intergovernmental relations. The Mayor, Council, and Manager constitute a policy-development and management team.
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 is responsible for the:
Council members and citizens count on the manager to provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of alternatives, and long-term consequences.
The Manager makes policy recommendations to the Council, but the Council may or may not adopt them and may modify the recommendations. The Manager is bound by whatever action the Council takes.
Successful examples of citizen participation in the local government service delivery decision-making process are widespread among professionally-managed communities. Because professional local government management offers government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it sets the stage for citizen activism by encouraging open communication between citizens and their government.
As policy-makers, the City Council routinely relies on appointed citizen committees and boards for assistance in areas such as budget, planning, parks, downtown redevelopment, and for special projects. In the City of Klamath Falls, the Mayor does have the authority to appoint citizens to these various boards and commissions. Because political power is concentrated in the entire governing body rather than one elected official, more citizens have an opportunity to be elected to a position in which they have significant influence over the future of their community.