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Council's Corner: City manager vs. mayor: Who should run city if incorporated?

July 12, 2017

A city manager and a mayor are two of the most prestigious and important positions in local government. When we, as a prospective city, consider the roles of each, it is good to know which position carries more responsibility and decision-making authority.

Lehigh Acres' decision begins with the type of government that would best serve the needs of our community.

- City manager: The chief administrative officer in the city, he or she serves at the direction of the city council. He or she shall implement and administer all ordinances, resolutions and policies adopted by the city council. The city manager would be responsible for submitting to the council and make a complete report on the financial and administrative activities of the city at the end of each fiscal year.

- Council-manager government: The most common form of government. The city council oversees local policy and budgets and appoints a professional city manager to handle administrative tasks on a day-to-day basis.

- Mayor-council government: In this form of government, the mayor is elected separately from the council and has strong or weak powers based on the city charter. This form of government is most common in larger municipalities.

- Elected vs. selected office: Mayors are elected by their constituents or selected from among members of the council through election or rotation. City managers are appointed by mayors and council members based on their education and experience in local government. A city manager should have a Master of Public Administration, personnel management and more.

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- Salaries: Salaries for these positions and for general municipal officials vary depending on factors, including population, city size, education, form of government, location and budget considerations. One of the major differences between the two roles is that the city manager is generally a full-time position, whereas many mayors work part-time.

- Politics: Mayors run for office and are permitted to engage in political activities and elected as a result of these activities and their platform, background and personality. City managers are expected to be non-partisan and politically neutral as they carry out the decisions of the council or major.

The feasibility study being performed will indicate the salaries and other costs of each form of government Lehigh Acres can sustain. The decision the community must make is which form of government is most preferred.

If you would like to participate in the decision-making process, email and state the type of government you prefer - mayor or city manager.

It is going to take the entire community to make these decisions, so the majority of the people decide, not just a few.

The Community Council of Lehigh Acres serves as the voice for unincorporated Lehigh Acres.

Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the LCSO East District substation, at 1301 Homestead Road N.

To contact the council, email



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