Council–manager government

Last updated

The council–manager government form is one of two predominant forms of local government in the United States and Ireland, the other being the mayor–council government form. [1] Council–manager government form also is used in county governments in the United States. The council–manager form also is used for municipal government in Canada and in Ireland, among many other countries, both for city councils and county councils.

Local government in the United States governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state

Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. Most states and territories have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities. In some states, counties are divided into townships. There are several different types of jurisdictions at the municipal level, including the city, town, borough, and village. The types and nature of these municipal entities vary from state to state.

The mayor–council government system is a system of organization of local government. It is one of the two most common forms of local government in the United States and is also used in Canada. It is the one most frequently adopted in large cities, although the other form, council–manager government, is the local government form of more municipalities.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, which is a region having specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs respectively.

Contents

Form

The council–manager form is much like a publicly traded corporation. [2] Under the form, an elected governing body, usually called a council, board of aldermen, or similar title, is responsible for legislative functions such as establishing policy, passing local ordinances, voting appropriations, and developing an overall vision, similar to a corporate board of directors. [3] The legislative body appoints a professional manager to oversee the administrative operations, implement its policies, and advise it. The manager position is similar to that of corporate chief executive officer (CEO), providing professional management to the board of directors. The position of “mayor” present in this type of legislative body is a largely ceremonial title, and may be selected by the council from among its members or elected as an at-large council member with no executive functions, [4] similar to a non-executive chairman in a corporation.

Public company Company that offers its securities for sale to the general public

A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a corporation whose ownership is dispersed among the general public in many shares of stock which are freely traded on a stock exchange or in over-the-counter markets. In some jurisdictions, public companies over a certain size must be listed on an exchange. A public company can be listed or unlisted.

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an organization. Policies can assist in both subjective and objective decision making. Policies to assist in subjective decision making usually assist senior management with decisions that must be based on the relative merits of a number of factors, and as a result are often hard to test objectively, e.g. work-life balance policy. In contrast policies to assist in objective decision making are usually operational in nature and can be objectively tested, e.g. password policy.

A local ordinance is a law for a political division smaller than a state or nation, i.e., a local government such as a municipality, county, parish, prefecture, etc.

This system of government is used in 40.1% of American cities with populations of 2,500 or more, according to the 2011 Municipal Yearbook published by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), [5] a professional organization for city managers and other top appointed local government administrators.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

International City/County Management Association is an association representing professionals in local government management. It is based in Washington, D.C., USA.

History in the United States

The concept of the council–manager form of government was a product of a confluence of the prevailing modes of thought during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [6] Probably the foremost influence was the Progressive Movement; following along the thought lines of the movement, the municipal reformers of that time wanted to rid municipalities of the pervasive “political machine” form of government and the abuses of the spoils system. The thought was to have a politically impartial administrator or manager to carry out the administrative function.

Political machine

A political machine is a political group in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses, who receive rewards for their efforts. The machine's power is based on the ability of the boss or group to get out the vote for their candidates on election day.

Spoils system

In politics and government, a spoils system is a practice in which a political party, after winning an election, gives government civil service jobs to its supporters, friends, and relatives as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a merit system, where offices are awarded on the basis of some measure of merit, independent of political activity.

Another influence was the “Scientific Management” movement, often associated with Frederick Winslow Taylor. The focus of this movement was to run organizations in an objective, scientific fashion to maximize efficiency, among other things.

Frederick Winslow Taylor American mechanical engineer and tennis player

Frederick Winslow Taylor was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He was one of the first management consultants. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era (1890s–1920s). Taylor summed up his efficiency techniques in his 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management which, in 2001, Fellows of the Academy of Management voted the most influential management book of the twentieth century. His pioneering work in applying engineering principles to the work done on the factory floor was instrumental in the creation and development of the branch of engineering that is now known as industrial engineering. Taylor made his name, and was most proud of his work, in scientific management; however, he made his fortune patenting steel-process improvements. Taylor was also an athlete who competed nationally in tennis.

A third influence behind the council–manager idea was that of the organizational structure of the for-profit corporation, with its board of directors, which hires a professional CEO to run its operations. [6]

Sumter, South Carolina, has the distinction of being the first city in the United States to implement council–manager government successfully, although Staunton, Virginia, is credited as the first American city to appoint a city manager, which it did in 1908. [7] This appointment attracted attention to the fledgling profession and caught the eye of Richard S. Childs, who would become known as the “father” of the council–manager form of government and the Model City Charter. [6] [8] The first large city to adopt the council–manager form was Dayton, Ohio, in 1913.

In the early 21st century, thirty-eight of Virginia's thirty-nine cities have a council–manager form of government, with the capital, Richmond, being the only exception. Richmond switched to a strong-mayor–council plan in 2004, after having had a council–manager system since 1948.[ citation needed ]

The council–manager system has grown considerably in popularity since the start of the 20th century. In 1935, ICMA recognized 418 U.S. cities and seven counties using the system.[ citation needed ]

The council–manager form of government developed, at least in part, as a response to some perceived limitations of the city commission government form. Since it relies on candidates being elected at-large, minority populations are often unable to elect candidates of their choice. In addition, it may concentrate too much power in individual commissioners, who also manage city departments. The council–manager form became the preferred alternative for progressive reform. After World War I, few cities adopted the commission form and many cities using the commission plan switched to the council–manager form.[ citation needed ]

By 2001, 3,302 cities with a population over 2,500 and 371 counties used the council–manager system. Phoenix, Arizona is the largest city in the United States to retain a council–manager government. [9]

Recent hybrids

Since the turn of the 21st century, there have been numerous studies about the variety of hybrid forms of local governments that have evolved from the two "pure" forms (council–manager and mayor–council). The cities that have modified their organizational structure from one of the pure forms commonly are termed “adaptive” community organizations. [10]

These variations necessitate a delineation of the distinguishing features of the council–manager form of government. ICMA has listed at least three defining characteristics that distinguish a true council–manager government:

“Model City Charter”

The Model City Charter (MCC), published by the National Civic League, formerly the National Municipal League, is closely associated with the council–manager form of government. The Model City Charter is in its eighth edition, adopted in 2003. Since its second edition, adopted in 1915, the model charter for municipalities has recommended this council–manager form of government. [12] [13]

History in the Republic of Ireland

Following the turmoil of World War I (1914–1918), the 1916 rising, the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921), and the 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 than under the previous system, where the executive function had been, 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. Having regard to the city's experience of commissioners and recent experience in the United States a council–manager plan of city government was 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 the manager of every borough or town in that county, but since the 1990s, has the power to delegate these functions to any other officer of that borough or town council.

The system was modified also 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 Act 1985, which provided for the council–manager system in Galway City once detached for local government purposes from Galway County.

The above acts have been replaced since that time, in substantially the same form, by the Local Government Act 2001 .

See also

Notes

  1. Svara, James H. (21 October 2008). "Strengthening Local Government Leadership and Performance: Reexamining and Updating the Winter Commission Goals". Public Administration Review. 68: S37–S49. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2008.00977.x.
  2. Local Government Management, ICMA [ permanent dead link ]
  3. "ICMA information brochure". Archived from the original on 2006-09-04. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  4. ICMA forms of government
  5. "2011 Municipal Yearbook". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  6. 1 2 3 Stillman, Richard J. (1974). The Rise of the City Manager: A Public Professional in Local Government. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  7. "Staunton, Virginia: Birthplace of the Council Manager Form of Government". City of Staunton. Archived from the original on November 20, 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  8. Ammons, David N. and Charldean Newell. (1989). City Executives: Leadership Roles, Work Characteristics, and Time Management. State University of NY Press.
  9. "From the Mayor's Office". City of Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  10. Carr, Jered B.; Karuppusamy, Shanthi (July 2008). "The Adapted Cities Framework". Urban Affairs Review. 43 (6): 875–86. doi:10.1177/1078087407311396.
  11. Svara, James H. and Kimberly L. Nelson. “Taking Stock of the Council–Manager Form at 100”. Public Management Magazine, August 2008. ICMA Publications
  12. Svara, James, on National Civic League Website
  13. Public Management Magazine, ICMA, February 2003, Vol 85, Number 3 Archived 2008-10-17 at the Wayback Machine .

Related Research Articles

A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national government.

A city manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of a city, in a council–manager form of city government. Local officials serving in this position are sometimes referred to as the chief executive officer (CEO) or chief administrative officer (CAO) in some municipalities.

A city council, town council, town board, or board of aldermen is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality, or local government area.

Administrative divisions of New York (state) territorial entity in New York, USA used for administration

The administrative divisions of New York are the various units of government that provide local government services in the state of New York.

A town council, village council or rural council is a form of local government for small municipalities.

Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002. Broadly similar structures existed in Scotland from 1833 to 1975 with the reform of royal burghs and creation of police burghs.

City commission government is a form of local government in the United States. In a city commission government, voters elect a small commission, typically of five to seven members, on a plurality-at-large voting basis.

Government of Chicago

The government of the City of Chicago, Illinois is divided into executive and legislative branches. The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive, elected by general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the various departments. In addition to the mayor, Chicago's two other citywide elected officials are the City Clerk and the treasurer.

Local government in the Republic of Ireland

In Ireland, local government functions are mostly exercised by thirty-one local authorities, termed County, City, or City and County Councils. The principal decision-making body in each of the thirty-one local authorities is composed of the members of the council, elected by universal franchise in local elections every five years. Irish Local Authorities are the closest and most accessible form of Government to people in their local community. Many of the authorities' statutory functions are, however, the responsibility of ministerially appointed career officials termed Chief executives. The competencies of the city and county councils include planning, transport infrastructure, sanitary services, public safety and the provision of public libraries.

The Optional Municipal Charter Law or Faulkner Act provides New Jersey municipalities with a variety of models of local government. This legislation is called the Faulkner Act in honor of the late Bayard H. Faulkner, former mayor of Montclair, New Jersey and chairman of the Commission on Municipal Government.

In local government in the Republic of Ireland, the chief executive of a city or county is the senior permanent official of its local authority. Whereas the county council and city council are elected officials who formulate policy, the chief executive is an appointed official who manages the implementation of policy. The position was introduced in 1929–42 based on the American council–manager government model, and until 2014 the chief executive was styled the county manager or city manager. Their salaries range from €132,511 to €189,301 per annum. The County and City Management Association is the professional association for chief executives, and it is affiliated to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Government of Portland, Oregon

The Government of Portland, Oregon, a city in the U.S. state of Oregon, is based on a city commission government system. Elected officials include a Mayor, a City Council, and a City Auditor. The mayor and commissioners are responsible for legislative policy and oversee the various bureaus that oversee the day-to-day operation of the city. The auditor is responsible for ensuring that the government operates in good faith. Portland began using a commission form of government in 1913 following a public vote on May 3 of that year.

The state of Michigan is largely divided in the same way as many other U.S. states, but is distinct in its usage of charter townships. Michigan ranks 13th among the fifty states in terms of the number of local governmental entities.

Local government in New Jersey is composed of counties and municipalities. Local jurisdictions are simpler in New Jersey than in other states because every square foot of the state is part of exactly one municipality; each of the 565 municipalities is in exactly one county; and each of the 21 counties has more than one municipality. New Jersey has no unincorporated areas, independent cities, or consolidated city-counties.

Local government in Pennsylvania is government below the state level in Pennsylvania. There are six types of local governments listed in the Pennsylvania Constitution: county, township, borough, town, city, and school district. All of Pennsylvania is included in one of the state's 67 counties, which are in total subdivided into 2,561 municipalities. There are currently no independent cities or unincorporated territories within Pennsylvania.

In local government in the United States, a county administrator or county manager is a person appointed to be the administrative manager of a county, in a council-manager form of county government.