The Mayor-Council government system, sometimes called the Mayor-Commission government system, is one of two variations of
governmentused for the most part in modern representative municipal governments in the United States. It is also used in some other countries. The Mayor-Council variant can be broken down into two parts depending on the relationship between the legislative and executive branches.
Weak-mayor, or ceremonial, form
In the weak-mayor form of the mayor-council government, the council possesses both legislative and executive authority. The council may appoint officials and must approve of mayoral nominations. The council also exercises primary control over the municipal budget.
The mayor, though elected, has little real political power and less independence under this form, serves largely ceremonial duties, and may even be a member of the council.
Charles Adrian and Charles Press explain, "The weak-mayor plan is a product of
Jacksonian democracy. It comes from the belief that if politicians have few powers and many checks, then they can do relatively little damage."
This form of government is most commonly used in small towns. It is a variant of the
city commission government.
trong-mayor, or executive, form
The strong-mayor form of mayor-council government consists of a popularly elected executive branch and a legislative branch, usually a city mayor and city council respectively.cite journal | author=Kathy Hayes, Semoon Chang| title=The Relative Efficiency of City Manager and Mayor-Council Forms of Government | journal=Southern Economic Journal| month=July | year=1990| volume=57| issue=1| page=167-177| url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0038-4038%28199007%2957%3A1%3C167%3ATREOCM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-%23&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage|doi=10.2307/1060487 | pages=167] In the strong-mayor form the mayor is given almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little public input. In this system, the strong mayor prepares and administers the city budget, although that budget often must be approved by the city council. In some strong-mayor governments, the mayor will appoint a
chief administrative officer, or CAO, who will supervise department heads, prepare the budget, and coordinate departments. This CAO, sometimes also called a city manager, is responsible only to the mayor. The government of New York Cityuses the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system, as, indeed, do most major American cities.cite book | title=Government in America| last=Edwards III| first=George C. | coauthors=Robert L. Lineberry; and Martin P. Wattenberg| year=2006| pages=677-678| publisher=Pearson Education| isbn=0321292367]
City commission government
*Cite web|url=http://www.juntosociety.com/government/municipal.htm|title=Municipal Government|accessdate=2007-11-20|publisher=Junto Society|author=Monty Rainey
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