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COUNCILMANAGER GOVERNMENT

Margaret Stout Assistant Professor Department of Public Administration West Virginia University

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN WV
West Virginia Code (statute) allows for the formation of local

governments
The Legislature shall provide by general laws for the incorporation

and government of cities, towns and villages, and shall classify such municipal corporations, upon the basis of population, into not less than two nor more than five classes. (6-39a)
Class 1 >50,000

Class 2 >10,000
Class 3 > 2,000 Class 4 </=2,000

Home Rule is not given automatically through general law


Home Rule Pilot Program

Therefore, form of government is dictated by Code

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT IN WV
WV Code provides several alternatives to local governments

when establishing their charter (8-3-2)


Mayor-Council Strong Mayor Commission Manager-Mayor Manager-Council

The differences are the manner in which authority is shared


Policy making (governance) Administration

MAYOR-COUNCIL PLAN
City council members and the mayor are elected by the people

The mayor and council together serve as the governing body and

the administrative authority

COMMISSION GOVERNMENT
A five-member commission is elected at large by the people

Commissioners elect a mayor from among their membership and

together are the governing body and administrative authority


Each commissioner is responsible for a different aspect of city

government
Public affairs Finance Public safety Public works and streets Etc.

STRONG-MAYOR PLAN
The mayor and council are elected by the people

The council is the governing body


The mayor is the administrative authority
Other offices and employees are appointed by the mayor and may be

subject to the approval of council

MANAGER-MAYOR PLAN
Council members are elected either at large or from geographical

districts
The mayor is also elected by the people and serves as the

presiding officer of the council


The council and mayor together are the governing body and

appoints and supervises a city manager


The city manager is the administrative authority
The city manager is responsible for appointing or employing all

subordinates

MANAGER-COUNCIL PLAN
Council members are elected either at large or from geographical

districts
The council elects a mayor from among its membership, and the

mayor serves as the presiding officer of council


The council is also the governing body and appoints and

supervises a city manager


The city manager is the administrative authority
The city manager is responsible for appointing or employing all

subordinates

MORGANTOWN, WV
Manager-Council form of government adopted in 1977

WHY MANAGER-COUNCIL FORM?


The most popular form of government for communities of >5,000

The best practice recommended by


National League of Cities National Civic League International County/City Management Association

Designed to bring unbiased expertise to governance


Progressive Era reform Combatting political corruption (particularly from party machines) Establishing bureaucratic longevity and stability for economic and

quality of life benefits

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO GRASP?


Federal and State government do not have this form

Legislators are the policy making authority


President/Governor is the administrative authority
Most like the Strong Mayor form of local government

COMMON PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS


Elected officials do not understand role differentiation
Conflicts arise due to a lack of awareness

Elected officials do not agree with the role differentiation


Conflicts arise due to political positioning and power grabs

Legitimate resolution?
Adjust behavior to abide by the Charter
Rewrite the Charter and get it approved by the people