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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 Jared Dailey, program manager, at jdailey@icma.org, for more information on form-of-government issues.

Launching an educational or promotional effort in support of the council-manager form can be difficult, but we hope you find these materials useful. Thank you for helping ICMA advocate the value of professional local government management and good luck with your efforts!


Robert J. O’Neill
ICMA Executive Director


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

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