ICMA / About / Professional Management / Council-Manager Form Resources

Council-Manager Form Resource Package

ICMA's first-response information packet on professional local government management through the council-manager structure.

Welcome to ICMA’s Council-Manager Form Resource page! 

The collection of articles, statistics, and other information—grouped below as ICMA’s Council-Manager Form Resource Packet—will assist you in helping residents, elected officials, and business leaders within your community gain a better understanding of the value that professional management brings to our cities and towns.

ICMA's origins lie in the council-manager form of local government, which combines the strong political leadership of elected officials (in the form of a council, board, or other governing body) with the strong professional experience of an appointed local government manager or administrator. Under this form, power is concentrated in the elected council, which hires a professional administrator to implement its policies. These highly trained, experienced individuals serve at the pleasure of the elected governing body and have responsibility for preparing the budget, directing day-to-day operations, hiring and firing personnel, and serving as the council's chief policy advisor.

Although ICMA actively promotes the council-manager form as the preferred structure, the organization also supports professional management in all forms of local government.

We invite you to use these materials as part of your council-manager form adoption and retention efforts. Click on the link to the packet components and you will be taken to ICMA’s Resource Center, where you will find a description of the material and one or more downloads. In addition to the materials contained in the Council-Manager Form Resource packet, scroll further down this page for a list of other resources, or contact Michele Frisby, director, public information, at mfrisby@icma.org, for more information.


Brochure: Council-Manager Form of Government: Frequently Asked Questions (brochure)

Forms of Local Government Structure

Sample Ordinance for Establishing a Manager’s Position

Article: Taking Stock of the Council-Manager Form at 100

Video: Council-Manager versus Mayor-Council (created by VoteCM '09 for Bainbridge Island, Washington)



Brochure: Professional Local Government Management: The Benefits to Your Municipality (brochure)

Brochure: Professional County Management: The Benefits to Your County

Article: How Professionals Can Add Value to Their Communities and Organizations

Questionnaire for Determining Value of Professional Administrator/Manager

Article: The Mayor-Manager Conundrum That Wasn't

Article: Council-Manager or "Strong Mayor": The Choice Is Clear



How Professionals Save Local Governments Money

Study: Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: An Operations Efficiency Benchmarking Study of 100 American Cities (2011)

Article: CNN-Money Magazine 100 Best Places to Live with Form of Government and ICMA Member (2011)



Form of Government Statistics - Municipalities (2014)

Form of Government Statistics - Municipalities (2014): Council-Manager versus Mayor-Council in Specific Population Ranges

Form of Government Statistics - Cities (2012): Longitudinal between 1984 - 2012

Form of Government Statistics - Counties (2014)

International city/County Management Association

  • 777 North Capitol Street, NE Suite 500
  • Washington, DC 20002-4201
  • 800-745-8780/202-962-3680
  • Fax: 202-962-3500
© ICMA All Rights Reserved