Form of Government
The City of Turlock is managed utilizing the Council-Manager form of government. Under the Council-Manager form of government, the City Council provides policy direction to the City Manager
who is responsible for administering city operations. The following information has been provided by the International City/County Management Association in order to provide citizens with a general overview of how this form of government works in communities throughout the United States:
The Council-Manager form
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 the council then hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services. Over 3,000 local governments operate under this form, serving more than 71 million Americans.
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 service fees and charges, 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 administrative responsibilities and supervises the manager's performance.
The Mayor's role
Mayors in council-manager communities are key political leaders and policy developers. 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.
The Manager's function
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 adviser; and carries out the council's policies. Council members and citizens count on the manager to provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of alternatives, and long-term consequences.