ICMA’s Future of Professional Management Fund (previously the Endowment Fund and the Fund for Professional Management) was established in 1986 by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to advocate and promote the council-manager form and professional local government management.
Below is a list of form-of-government efforts (2012-present) that have been supported in part by ICMA's Future of Professional Management Fund.
Sarasota, FL (pop. 56,919) — As part of their 10 year charter review process, the question about form of government and whether to have a mayor elected at-large emerged in the Charter Review Committee discussions. ICMA was called upon to meet with the Charter Review Committee and provide expert testimony on the distinctions between mayor-council and council-manager cities. the Charter Review Committee is expected to bring final recommendation to the City Council in 2022 for final recommendation to the voters.
Buffalo, NY (pop. 886,000) — Members of the Buffalo Common Council have raised the need for greater collaboration and professional expertise in the administration of government. Following a number of debates, the Common Council called upon ICMA to provide expert testimony to help inform distinctions between various forms of government and to identify the potential opportunities that a professional administrator or a change to council-manager form of government might offer. No decisions have been made, but ICMA remains in dialogue to continue to help inform the Common Council's future decision-making on the issue should it come forward in the future.
Burnsville, NC (pop. 1,667) — To address the need for greater accountability in the administration of government, the ICMA provided information and technical guidance on how the council-manager system operates to assure greater accountability through professional administration of government. Following those discussions, the Town Council held public hearings and ultimately adopted a change to council-manager form of government and hired their first town manager in September 2021.
Ithaca, NY (pop. 30,569) — ICMA engaged with city officials in Ithaca, NY to inform about distinction in form of government and to identify how the council-manager form of government might help the city to address the growing complexities of their local government. After a number of information sessions with government professionals, including ICMA and New York State City County Management Association members, the City Council approved a referendum to create a City Manager position, which will go before the voters in November 2022.
Portland, OR (pop. 661,419) — As part of its required 10-year charter review, Portland, OR is investigating alternatives to its current commission form of government. ICMA has provided expert testimony and organized two information sessions with the Charter Review Commission to help inform them of the distinctions between commissioner, mayor-council, and council-manager forms of government. Recommendations are expected in 2022.
Portland, ME (pop. 65,835) — As Portland conducts a review of is City Charter, members of the Charter Review Commission have advocated for eliminating the council-manager form of government. With support from Maine Town and City Managers Association, ICMA has supported local efforts to inform the value of professional management in local government and the benefits of council-manager systems. The Charter Review Commission plans to deliver final recommendation in 2022.
Harris County, TX (pop. 4.7 million) — As the largest county in the state of Texas and home to Houston, ICMA provided information to the Harris County Commissioners Court and offered expert testimony during public hearings. The Commissioners Court voted to adopt a Commission-Administrator form of county governance and hired a professional county administrator. (June)
Bridgewater, MA (pop. 27,975) — ICMA provided information regarding the council-manager form of government to inform the charter committee during deliberations regarding the potential to change the form of government. Final recommendations for charter amendments included maintaining the Council-Manager form. (June)
Austin, TX (pop. 961,865) — ICMA established a grassroots campaign to inform the public regarding efforts to implement a strong mayor system. Those seeking to dismantle the council-manager system in Austin successfully placed the measure on the ballot as "Proposition F." ICMA engaged with the community to address the critical differences between the forms of government and the potential implications for the future of Austin. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition F and the strong mayor system by an 86% to 14% margin to preserve the Council-Manager form of government. (May)
Elkins, WV (pop. 6,934) — ICMA supported local efforts to change from the mayor-council system to a council-manager system by providing information and insight into the distinctions between the forms of government to their charter committee. The committee recommended the change in form of government to the Council, and the measure was presented to the voters. The ballot measure to change to council-manager form of government failed 685 to 334. (March)
Baltimore, MD (pop. 585,708) — ICMA provided information on the value of professional management and the benefit of hiring a City Administrator to manage the daily operations of government. Voters approved the ballot initiative to add a City Administrator position to be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. (Nov 3)
Sacramento, CA (pop. 521,769)—Measure A was introduced on the Nov 3 ballot with the intent to amend the city charter to revoke council-manager form and implement mayor-council form of government. Residents rejected Measure A by 57-to-43 percent vote. This was the second time in six years ICMA helped defeat attempts to dismantle the council-manager form of government. (November 3)
Saratoga Springs, NY (pop. 28,355)—Supported efforts to change the city charter from a commission form of government to council-manager form of government. The measure failed. (Nov 3)
Deer Park, Ohio (pop. 5,600)—Residents approved charter amendment to adopt a council-manager form of government (November 3)
Eagle Lake, TX (pop. 3,739)—ICMA provided information on how Council-Manager form of government operates. Council adopted a resolution to replace the Alderman form of government with the Council-Manager form (November)
San Jose, CA (pop. 1,033,670)—Supported efforts to inform the community about the council-manager form of government. Local efforts successfully deterred the mayor from putting forth a measure to call for a charter amendment to implement the mayor-council form over the current council-manager form of government. (June)
Beaverton, OR (pop. 99,000)—Residents adopted charter amendment to replace the mayor-council system with the council-manager form of government (May)
Ashland, OR (pop. 21,621)—Residents adopted the charter amendment to replace the mayor-council system with the council-manager form of government (May)
St. Louis County, Missouri (pop. 996,726)—Proposal to consolidate 88 municipalities in county into a single “Metropolitan City” and adopt the mayor-council form of government put on hold indefinitely (Summer)
Cleveland Heights, Ohio (pop. 44,562)—Residents voted 64-to-36 percent to abandon council-manager government (November 5)
Amherst, Massachusetts (38,000)—Adopted council-manager form recommended by charter commission (March 27)
Ascension Parish, Louisiana (122,948)—Efforts to advocate professional management within the parish continue
Hillard, Ohio (pop. 35,939)—Voted 58.5 to 41.5 percent to adopt charter amendment and switch from mayor-council to council-manager form of government (November 6).
Clearwater, Florida (pop. 115,513)—Voters said “no way” to switching from the council-manager form of government by soundly defeating an initiative spearheaded by the city’s business community to adopt the mayor-council structure by a 59-to-41-percent margin (November 6).
Danville, Illinois (pop. 31,424)—Despite more than six month’s hard work by members of "Moving Danville Forward," residents voted 58.55-to-41.45 percent to retain their current aldermanic form of government (November 6).
Canton, South Dakota (3,386)—Abandoned council-manager form in favor of commission-mayor (November 7)
Fair Oaks, Texas (8,645)—Adopted home rule charter, which paved way for council-manager form (May 6)
Lakeland, Florida (106,420)—Defeated proposal to switch from council-manager to mayor-council (November 7)
Saratoga Springs, New York (27,763)—Petition to re-count ballots in city's close (10-vote) charter change election in November denied by judge in February 2018, but petitioners haven't given up.
Shoreacres, Texas (1,600)—Switched from mayor-council to council-manager (May 6)
West Jordan, Utah (113,699)—Abandoned council-manager for mayor-council form by 63 votes (November 7)
Carver, Minnesota (pop. 4,147)—Adopted council-manager form (November 8)
East Providence, Rhode Island (47,149)—Abandoned council-manager form (November 8)
Freeport, Illinois—Adopted council-manager form (November 8)
Snohomish, Washington—Abandoned council-manager form (November 8)
Sacramento, California (pop. 479,686)—Rejected mayor-council proposal for this capital city and retained council-manager form (November)
West Columbia, Souith Carolina (pop. 16,282)—Rejected mayor-council proposal and retained council-manager form (October)
Columbia, South Carolina (pop. 133,358)—Defeated initiative to change this capital city's council-manager form of government (December 3)
Washougal, Washington (pop. 14,75)—Retained council-manager form (November)
Coos County, Oregon (62,282)—Unsuccessful attempt to create county administrator position (November)
McHenry County, Illinois (307,409)—Retained council-manager form
Sarasota, Florida (53,326)—Rejected proposal to amend the city’s charter, split the charter position of city auditor/clerk, and create a new position of city clerk that would report to the city manager rather than city commissioners.
Saratoga Springs, New York (27,315)—Rejected proposal to change from commission to council-manager form
Westbrook, Connecticut (6,292)—Rejected charter review commission recommendation to create town manager position while retaining town meeting form (November)