Mason has a council-manager form of government. What does that mean?
The council-manager form is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body, 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.
What is the council's function?
The council is the legislative body; its 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 community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning. The council hires a professional manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and supervises the manager’s performance.
What is the City Manager's function?
The City 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 administrator prepares a budget for the council’s consideration; recruits, hires, and supervises the government’s staff; serves as the council’s chief adviser; and carries out the council’s policies. Council members and citizens count on the administrator to provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of alternatives, and long-term consequences.
Does the manager participate in policy determination?
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
Where does the mayor fit in?
Mayors in council-manager communities (or chairpersons in counties) are key political leaders and policy developers. In the case of the council, the mayor is responsible for soliciting citizen views in forming these policies and interpreting them to the public. The mayor presides at council meetings, serves as a spokesperson for the community, facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, assists the council in setting goals and advocating policy decisions, and serves as a promoter and defender of the community. In addition, the mayor serves as a key representative in intergovernmental relations. The mayor, council, and manager constitute a policy-development and management team.
Are all council-manager governments structured the same way?
No. One of its 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 district. Some local governments have mayors who are elected by the voters at large; others (like Mason) are elected by their colleagues on the council.
Can the manager be fired?
City managers serve at the pleasure of the council or governing body. They can be fired by a majority of the council, consistent with local laws, ordinances, or employment agreements they may have with the council. Control is always in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.