BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT OUR TOWN DID:
Several advantages are often cited in favor of council-manager government. Since the council is able to choose the best qualified person it can find to direct the administrative operations of the city or town, a consistently high standard of administrative management is usually achieved. Too, this structure centralizes authority for effective administration in one person whose reputation and future career depend on the quality of his work.
WE KNOW TOMMIE DOESN’T
The Town manager’s position as the chief executive, he can and should be expected to have a broad grasp of the needs of the community and the means by which they can be met most effectively. It is normal to expect a manager possessing such a grasp of needs to make recommendations on community needs and their implementation. Such policy suggestions can be presented to the council in several ways: through formal reports, by informal suggestion, and by means of the annual budget proposal. The form, content and frequency of these recommendations are definite determinants of a manager’s impact on policy-making. But the council has the final decision making responsibility.
BUT HELEN HAS HAD TO ACT AS THE CEO
Mayors in council-manager cities are not chief executives for they have no formal administrative functions. It is the manager who is the chief executive and who is responsible to the council for the proper performance of virtually all administrative functions. This administrative responsibility is matched by the manager’s authority to appoint and remove all department heads who report directly to him. In almost all council-manager cities, council members, both collectively and individually, are enjoined by charter from dealing with department heads except through the manager.
BUT TOMMIE JUST DOES AS HE IS TOLD AND MANY TIMES FORGETS OR REFUSES
Thus the relationship between council and manager is not truly one of a structural division of authority but rather of a practical division of work along broad functional lines. In dealing with municipal problems, the council and the manager must work together on the same subjects, each doing their part to reach a satisfactory solution. Such teamwork, often unstated in state laws and city charters, is implicit in the council-manager system.
BUT THE COUNCIL (especially McKenzie) HAS ALWAYS BLAMED THE MANAGER AS IF THEIR DECISIONS DO NOT HAVE TO BE REMEMBERED by THOSE MAKING POLICY
Another positive feature identified with the council-manager system is the concentration of responsibility in the elected council. So far as the voters are concerned, the council is responsible for effective governmental results. Failures simply cannot be blamed by the council on anyone else. There is no “buck-passing” in the council-manager structure. In the same vein, this governmental form is claimed to be, structurally, the simplest of all governmental forms.