The council-manager form of government is one of four forms in use in Massachusetts. At present, only twelve municipalities have a council-manager government. Although uncommon in Massachusetts, forty percent of municipal governments in the U.S. have a council-manager form of government.
In a council-manager form of government, an elected city council operates as the city’s legislative body. The city council appoints a city manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the government and retains the power and authority to set policy.
Many council-manager governments also feature a mayor who is elected from the council for two- or four-year terms, who represents the city on the state and national levels. In this role, a mayor votes with the city council and does not possess veto powers.
This form of government is collaborative; the city council, city manager, and mayor work together to enact budgets and policy, oversee city departments, and appoint department heads.
Council size may range from seven to fifteen members who are elected for two- or four-year terms by city ward or at-large. Note, some cities may opt for a hybrid representation system.