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City Manager’s Weekly Report for week ending May 10, 2019

City Manager’s Weekly Report
for week ending May 10, 2019

Forms of Government. Recently, Mayor Chicquette brought up forms of government, strong mayor versus council-manager, as an item for Council workshop discussion in December.  The most definitive discussion of this in Washington State is on the Municipal Research Services Center website at  http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Governance/Forms-of-Government-and-Organization/City-and-Town-Forms-of-Government.aspx [1].  The only substantial research pertaining to this issue that I can find is in the attached document.  Interestingly, I last looked this information up in 1992, and it was formatted exactly like the attached article but was from 1988 data.  The most frequent local government structural changes in 1988 were 1) to change from strong mayor to council-manager with slightly greater frequency than the inverse; 2) to change to the ward form of government (like in Chicago); or 3) to adopt the strong mayor form of government in cities over 150,000 in population.  In 1988, the study made the case that changes between strong mayor and council-manager forms of government were occurring with less frequency over time.  This has turned out to be the case and is reflected in the MRSC article, which is much easier to read than the attached article.  I’ve worked in both systems.  Strong mayor systems are more political in character, periodically have greater turn over of staff, and generally pay both a mayor (usually a stipend and health benefits as permitted by State law) and a city administrator (paid about like me).

Municipal Form of Government: Trends in Structure, Responsibility, and Composition [2]

Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA  98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)