In present day Isabella County, this form of government is utilized by not only Lake Isabella, but also the City of Mount Pleasant, Isabella County, and the City of Clare. The managers of all four of these units of government also happen to be members of the Internation City/County Manager’s Association.
The ICMA was founded in 1914. At that time only 32 communities in the US and Canada has adopted the council-manager form of government. Today the ICMA claims over 8,000 members world-wide. In the US, the council-manager form of government is the most common form of government in communities of 2,500 or more. According to the ICMA, since 1990 over 1,100 communities had adopted this form of government. As of 2007, 49% of the communities in the US over 2,500 in population used this style of government. 43.5% used the strong mayor form of government, while 7.5% had other forms of government.
According to Wikipedia…The council-manager government is one of two main variations of representative municipal government in the United States. This system of government is used in the majority of American cities with populations over 12,000. (for contrast, see mayor-council government).
In the council-manager form of government, an elected city council (typically between five and 11 people) is responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, voting appropriations, and having overall supervisory authority in the city government. In such a government, the mayor (or equivalent executive) will perform strictly ceremonial duties or will act as a member and presiding officer of the council, similar to a chairman. The council will appoint a city manager or administrator who will be responsible for supervising government operations and implementing the policies adopted by the council. The manager serves the council, usually with a contract that specifies duties and responsibilities. Ideally, the manager is apolitical, but this is often difficult.
Municipal governments are usually administratively divided into several departments, depending on the size of the city. Though cities differ in the division of responsibility, the typical arrangement is to have the following departments handle the following roles:
- Economic development and tourism
- Public works - construction and maintenance of all city-owned or operated assets, including the water supply system, sewer, streets, stormwater, snow removal, street signs, vehicles, buildings, land, etc.
- Parks and recreation - construction and maintenance of city parks, common areas, parkways, publicly-owned land, operation of various recreation programs and facilities
- Emergency medical services
- Planning & Zoning (Community Development)
- Police & Fire (Public Safety)
- Emergency management
- Accounting/finance - often tax collection, audits
- Human resources - for city workers
- Legal counsel/risk management - legal matters such as writing municipal bonds, ensuring city compliance with state and federal law, responding to citizen lawsuits stemming from city actions or inactions.
- Transportation (varies widely) - if the city has a municipal bus or light rail service, this function may be its own department or it may be folded into the another of the above departments.
- Information technology - supports computer systems used by city employees; may be also responsible for a city website, phones and other systems.
- Housing department