The council-manager form of local government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. Approximately 59% of US cities with populations of 25,000 or more, and 47% of US cities with populations of 5,000 or more have adopted the council-manager form.

The Mayor and City Council members act as the political head of the city. They are responsible for setting policy, approving the budget, determining the tax rate, and formulating broad long-term policies that outline the City's public function. The manager is appointed by council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. 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, and is in charge of day to day operations