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Council-Manager Form of Government
Originating in 1908 in Staunton, Virginia, the Council-Manager plan has become the most widely accepted system of local government in the United States. The City of Chesapeake has operated under the Council-Manager plan since its inception with the merger of Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk in 1963. The plan is modeled after the American corporation, with its shareholders (voters), board of directors (City Council) and Chief Executive Officer (City Manager).
In the Council-Manager plan, the governing body is composed of public spirited citizens serving on a part-time basis to decide major policy issues, much in the same manner as the board of directors of a private corporation. The Mayor's role is to preside over council meetings, much like a Chairman of the Board.
The City Manager, under this system, is comparable to the corporation's CEO. He serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. The City Manager is a professionally-trained public administrator charged with implementing the policies and directives of City Council. The City Manager refrains from participating is partisan political activities which would impair professional administration.
City Council delegates broad administrative power to the City Manager subject to its continuing review. Qualifications, powers and duties of the City Manager are provided for in the City Charter. Delegated duties include:
- Perform as Charter and Council require;
- Supervise administrative affairs;
- Develop and submit operating and capital budgets;
- Appoint and remove officers and employees in administrative service;
- See to the enforcement of City ordinances and state laws;
- Make policy recommendations to Council;
- Keep council advised on financial conditions and future needs; and
- Prepare and submit requested reports.