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The Council-Manager Form of Government

Learn more about the Council-Manager form of government through a YouTube video at right.

Midland's Form of Government: By City Charter, adopted by City voters on November 7, 1944, the City of Midland operates under the council-manager form of government.  This system combines the strong political leadership of elected officials, in the form of the City Council, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager, in the form of the City Manager. This form of government establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected City Council, which hires a professionally trained manager to carry out its directives and oversee the delivery of public services.

In the council-manager form of government, council members are the leaders and policy makers elected to represent various segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes. The manager is appointed by the city council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. If the manager is not responsive to the city council's wishes, the council has authority to terminate the manager at any time. In that sense, the manager's responsiveness is tested daily.

The council is the legislative body. Its members are the community's decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected city council, which approves the budget and determines the tax rate. The city 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.

The 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 manager prepares a budget for the council's consideration; recruits, hires and supervises the government's staff; serves as the council's chief advisor; and carries out the council's policies. Council members are citizens who count on the manager to provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of the alternatives and long-term consequences. As the chief advisor to the council, 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.

Functions of the City Council:

  • Respond to citizen concerns

  • Represent various segments of the community

  • Appoint and direct the City Manager and City Attorney

  • Establish City policies by enacting ordinances and resolutions

  • Approve the annual City budget

  • Determine City tax rates

Functions of the City Manager:

  • Serve the City Council and community

  • Administer city government projects and programs

  • Recruit, hire and supervise City staff

  • Serve as the City Council's chief advisor

  • Carry out Council policies

  • Prepare the City budget for Council consideration