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Mayor–council government

A mayor–council government is a system of local government in which a mayor who is directly elected by the voters acts as chief executive, while a separately elected city council constitutes the legislative body. It is one of the two most common forms of local government in the United States, and is the form most frequently adopted in large cities, although the other common form, council–manager government, is the local government form of more municipalities.

The form may be categorized into two main variations depending on the relative power of the mayor compared to the council. In a typical strong-mayor system, the elected mayor is granted almost total administrative authority with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads. In such a system, the mayor's administrative staff prepares the city budget, although that budget usually must be approved by the council.[1]

Conversely, in a weak-mayor system, the mayor has no formal authority outside the council, serving a largely ceremonial role as council chairperson. The mayor cannot directly appoint or remove officials and lacks veto power over council votes.[2]

Most major American cities use the strong-mayor form of the mayor–council system, whereas middle-sized and small American cities tend to use the council–manager system.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Kathy Hayes; Semoon Chang (July 1990). "The Relative Efficiency of City Manager and Mayor–Council Forms of Government". Southern Economic Journal. 57 (1): 167–177. doi:10.2307/1060487. JSTOR 1060487.
  2. ^ Saffell, Dave C.; Harry Basehart (2009). State and Local Government: Politics and Public Policies (9th ed.). McGraw Hill. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-07-352632-4.
  3. ^ George C. Edwards III; Robert L. Lineberry; Martin P. Wattenberg (2006). Government in America. Pearson Education. pp. 677–678. ISBN 0-321-29236-7.
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Mayor–council government
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