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Strong City Manager or Strong City Mayor

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,908
Points
49
99% of the time I agree, but I have met a few mayors that operate more like a City Manager.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,107
Points
49
I agree with NHPlanner - I always would want to report to a professional and not an elected official
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,722
Points
50
Manager form is a much preferred administrative structure. Municipalities are generally non-partisan boards & mayor. Managers provide a great buffer between politicians & professional staff.

I have worked in jurisdictions where the electeds are approachable and also where the electeds didn't want to even knew staff existed. In both cases, managers were good for different reasons.
 

Big Owl

Cyburbian
Messages
2,601
Points
29
I worked for both a manager-council and mayor-council form of government. At my current jurisdiction, it is a manager-council form of government we have had a strong confident manager who clearly defined his role and had confidence in staff to carry out policies that he set. We also had managers (interim and permanent) who lacked confidence in themselves and leaned on the elected officals for day to day guidance and as result tended to micromanaged staff and questioned day to day task. I prefer clear consistent policy and the confidence that as a professional planner that I will operate under those expectations. The mayor-council form of government was a dicey situation for me as I answered to a town administrator who felt like he was a town manager and sometimes his direction differed from the mayor-council that hired me and to whom he and I both were responsible to.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,643
Points
53
I worked for both a manager-council and mayor-council form of government. At my current jurisdiction, it is a manager-council form of government we have had a strong confident manager who clearly defined his role and had confidence in staff to carry out policies that he set. We also had managers (interim and permanent) who lacked confidence in themselves and leaned on the elected officals for day to day guidance and as result tended to micromanaged staff and questioned day to day task. I prefer clear consistent policy and the confidence that as a professional planner that I will operate under those expectations.
This is the most important answer to this thread's question.

I currently work for a strong mayor - council setup and the Mayor is the 'CEO', but the City Code dictates specific roles and responsibilities devolving on the Dept heads. This is the first strong mayor I've worked under and it works, right now, with this specific person. But I am an exempt employee and have this job at the pleasure of the Mayor and we all know what that means...potentially.

I've worked under City Managers (Manager-Council setups) that I would emulate professionally and others I would not, so I'm not sold on a 'best' system for me, but certainly want to know the person I report to directly or indirectly.
 
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MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,287
Points
33
Working under a strong-mayor form of government is a major reason why I left my last job. It had nothing to do with the person specifically but just the fact that we were this large city and being run by someone with no expertise in government just led to too issues for me. So I headed south and became a deputy city manager so I wouldn't have to deal with that anymore. :D
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
608
Points
21
There is a little more to it because there is variation in the council-manager form. Under the city manager form it truly flows through the city manager and the council works through them. In the city administrator form you have a lot of variation in terms of how strong the mayor is, especially in smaller towns. You can have a long time mayor who knows a lot learned over the years with a newer administrator. Or you can have ones where the mayor just runs the council meetings and makes some appearances.
 

Bridie1962

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
I'm a little late to the thread but..
I'm currently working in a very small office (8 staff) and we desperately need a city manager. The mayor is ok in that role.
I had hopes cuz he was a senior manager in an international company but he's a lousy manager. There is no general over sight.
 

Veloise

Cyburbian
Messages
5,740
Points
32
I was at my fair state's largest city during the tenure of the former mayor who is still in prison.
It was a great relief to find that our second-largest city has a professional manager. The mayor and council make decisions and take political heat while the staff runs things.
 
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