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Learn About Local Government

Interested in learning more about how local government works?  View an informational video prepared by the Michigan Local Government Manager's Association, featuring former Berkley Mayor Marilyn Stephan and City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa.


What is a Council-Manager Form of Government?

A council-manager form of government is a local government that combines the political leadership of elected officials (City Council), with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager (City Manager).

The City Council are the leaders and policy makers elected to represent the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes.

The manager is appointed by the governing body to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served.

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, the pros and cons of alternatives, and long-term consequences.

Local governments have found that overall costs actually have been reduced with competent management. Savings come in the form of reduced operating costs, increased efficiency and productivity, improved revenue collection, or effective use of technology.

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.

Nearly 73 percent of managers surveyed by International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) have a master's or a professional degree. Respondents indicated that they had spent an average of 17 years in the local government management profession.


Stay Informed

To stay informed about Berkley local government check out the following: