Council-Manager Form of Government

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1 Proposition 1 Council-Manager Form of Government League City Public Forum April 6, 2010 James Thurmond, Ph.D. Director, Master of Public Adm. Program University of Houston

2 The Choices What to do? Existing: The Mayor shall be in charge of the day to day administrative affairs of the City. With Charter Amendment: City manager is appointed by and responsible to the council for proper administration of the affairs of the city.

3 Primer: City Government Purpose: All local govts. are creatures of the state City govts. are general purpose Texas cities have more broad authority than school districts, counties, or special districts Home Rule Cities (351 in Texas)

4 Two Forms of City Govt. 1. Mayor Council 39 of 351 (11%) home rule cities Houston, Pasadena, and Texas City 2. Council Manager 312) of 351 (89%) home rule cities All major cities Except for Houston, Pasadena, and Texas City

5 1. Mayor Council Form of Government Voters Mayor and City Council City Staff

6 Mayoral Responsibilities in Both Forms of Government 1) Presides 2) Key city representative 3) Appoints boards and committees with Council advice and consent 4) Head of city govt. for ceremonial purposes and for purposes of military law. 5) Facilitates communications on council

7 Council s Responsibilities in Mayor-Council Form Elected representatives Policymakers Approves budget and tax rate Adopts ordinances Establishes goals

8 Positives with Mayor-Council Citizens can directly hold an elected official responsible for administrative/operational functions More mayoral power in that strong mayor form can expedite govt. action Mayor who possesses administrative and leadership skills may excel

9 Issues with Mayor-Council Lack of continuity at leadership levels Lack of professionalism Lack of balance of power (especially in strong mayor) Greater potential for partisan politics More power can be a problem in itself Mayor who lacks ADMINSTRATIVE AND LEADERSHIP skills can hurt city

10 2. Council-Manager Form Similar to a board of directors and CEO in private enterprise Policy Administration Reform Movement Voters Mayor and City Council City Manager City Staff

11 History Years It is not new. Part of the early 1900 s Reform movement 1913 in Terrell and Amarillo, Texas Most popular in cities 5,000 and larger 3,400 cities in USA 89 million Americans 141 cities out of 237 cities over 100,000 population

12 In Houston area: Baytown, Bellaire, Conroe, Deer Park, Friendswood, Galveston, Katy, La Marque, Missouri City, Pearland, Sugar Land, Tomball, and West University Place. Council Mgr Form Cities In Texas 312 in Texas Includes Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Lubbock, San Antonio, and Plano

13 Mayor Responsibilities - Council Mgr Form 1) Presides at its meetings and votes 2) Key representative in intergovt. relations 3) Appoints boards and committees with Council advice & consent 4) Spokesperson for the city 5) Head of city ceremonial and by governor for purposes of military law. 8) No administrative duties 9) Facilitates communications on council

14 City Council Responsibilities Council Mgr Form Similar to Mayor Council except for: Hires/fires city manager Supervises, monitors, & evaluates city manager s performance

15 City Manager Responsibilities 1) Hired and fired by the City Council 2) Is bound by whatever action the City Council takes 3) Serves at the pleasure of the City Council 4) Implements policy 5) Hires and fires the personnel 6) Prepares budget 7) Handles administrative duties

16 City Manager (cont.) 8) Serves as the Council s chief advisor 9) Provides an experienced, professional resource for the City Council 10)Informs the Council in an objective and complete manner 11)Provides the pros and cons on an issue or a project 12)Describes the long term consequence of a proposed action

17 Positives with Council Mgr. Form Increases professionalism Increases continuity Balance of power Allows Council to focus on big picture items and major policy Keeps partisan politics out of city operations

18 Issues with Council-Mgr. form Manager isn t directly answerable to the citizens Council can no longer give directions to the city staff Manager controls the information and may not keep Council informed. Manager is too expensive

19 Summary Two forms of local govt. in Texas Council-manager is the most common in home rule cities Council-manager has been used since 1913

20 Bottom Line Citizens want a well-run city with trash collected, stray dogs picked up, low crime, potholes fixed, and fiscal responsibility. How to best achieve a well-run city ultimately depends on the form of government and on the people in the form of government. Your decision = What form gives the highest probability of success?

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