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Council-manager government

The council-manager government is one of 2 main variations of representative municipal government. (See: Mayor-Council government) In the council-manager form of government, a council of 5-7 people are responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, voting appropriations, and supervising the government. In such a government, the mayor (or equivalent executive) will perform strictly ceremonial duties.

The council will hire a manager or administrator who will be responsible for supervising government operations, according to the pleasure of the council. This manager will also be responsible for preparing and administering an executive budget.

The council-manager system of government entirely abandons a system of checks and balances, placing all power into the hands of the legislative branch. This system of government is used in the majority of American cities with populations over 25,000. Interestingly, 81% of managers report that they dominate the legislature; raising the question of who is in charge and the possibility that council-manager governments are actually, not legislative, but rather executive. (1)

History of the Council-Manager Government

This form of government was first adopted by Dayton, Ohio in 1913.

See also: mayor-council government, political science


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