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Copy of Local Government 101
Transcript of Copy of Local Government 101
serve at the pleasure of the elected official or governing body
translate policy and visionary ideas into tangible results
develop sound approaches to community challenges
make policy recommendations to the council for consideration and final decision
align the local government’s administrative systems with the values, mission, and policy goals defined by the community and elected officials
develop and oversee the budget
supervise department heads and procure products and services
Local Government 101
...building better communities through professional local government management.
There are three levels of government...
American Philosophy of Government
"...all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them."
-Virginia Declaration of Rights, June 12, 1776
"...Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"...to secure "certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
-Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776
Authority of U.S. Local Governments
"It is a general and undisputed proposition of law that a municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers and no others:
first, those granted in express words;
second, those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted;
third, those essential to the accomplishment of the declared objects and purposes of the corporation-not simply convenient, but indispensable."
-Judge John G. Dillion (1868)
Defined in U.S. Constitution
Defined in U.S. Constitution
Types of U.S Local Governments*
Forms of U.S. Local Government
1912 - Born out of turn-of-the-20th-century government reform movement
Business model focused on efficiency and effectiveness
Manager oversees day-to-day business of government
Political model with separation of powers between executive (chief elected official) and legislative (elected governing body) branches
Mayor oversees day-to-day business of government
Commissioners collectively form legislative body
Each commissioner is an executive, managing specific government functions
Town Meeting/Representative Town Meeting
Citizen government; limited services
Two Models of Local Government
What Is the Role of a Professional Local Government Manager?
What Is the Role of Elected Officials?
Represent the interests of their constituents
Establish a vision for the community
General oversight of government
Adopt the budget
Appoint managers or chief executive to oversee day-to-day local government operations.
Watch this video to learn about professional management
Professional Manager's Responsibility to the Legislative Body
Provide information for sound policy decisions
Engage in strategic thinking
Provide policy analysis and make policy recommendations
Develop a policy-oriented budget
Create a policy agenda and calendar
Engage residents in local government decision making
Be accountable for government operations
Comply with state and federal laws
Participate in regional bodies - cross border cooperation
Characteristics of a Good Local Leader
What Does a Local Government Do?
Build and maintain roads
Build, maintain, and operate public schools
Run community centers and parks
Organize community events
Operate police and fire departments
Provide public transit
Manage public works such as water, sewage, and trash pick up
Provide public health care and human services
It is important to note that not every local government provides all of these services.
Effective and Efficient Professional Managers Must Be Ethical
1. Be dedicated to effective and democratic local government
2. Affirm social responsibility as a public servant
3. Be dedicated to high ideals of honor and integrity
4. Serve the best interests of ALL people
5. Facilitate the work and uphold the policies of elected officials
6. Respect the role of elected officials
7. Stay out of electoral politics
8. Be competent and build a competent organization
9. Inform, engage, and serve the public
10. Resist interference that compromises your responsibility, principles and justice
11. Base treatment of employees on merit and fairness
12. Seek no personal favor or gain
How You Can Be Part of Local Government
Now that you have learned about local government, there are many ways you can get involved!
*Based on "Local Government 101," a presentation developed by Ron Carlee, DPM, ICMA-CM, City Manager, Charlotte, NC
“Being an efficient, effective, and ethical professional local government manager means…”
Devoting oneself to the successful functioning of local representative democracy and improving the safety and quality of life and environment for tens of thousands of people annually – most of whom you will never meet. It is also one of the most gratifying and exhausting ways to make a living.
-Rod Gould, City Manager, Santa Monica, CA
Being proud that the ICMA Code of Ethics is a cornerstone of our profession. I’m also committed to serving everyone in my community equally and working hard to provide local government services that are responsive and provide value to the community. It’s also important that I respect the role of the elected governing body as the policymakers in my community. I understand that my role as a manager is to make recommendations to the governing body, implement the governing body’s policies and to oversee the daily operations of the local government organization.
-Lee Worsley, Deputy County Manager, County of Durham, NC
Being a good steward of the public’s interests. This can be done by engaging the public in policy development, conducting business in a transparent manner and using ICMA’s Code of Ethics as the
to guide your actions, not the
-Troy Brown, Assistant City Manager, Livermore, CA
Consistently doing the right thing all the time whether someone is watching or not.
-Ken Chandler, Former City Manager, Portsmouth, VA
ICMA (International City/County Management Association)
Code of Ethics
That you are making a positive difference in the lives of the people you serve every day. You don't have to work at higher levels of government or at a non-profit organization to make a difference.
-Jennifer Kimball, Assistant City Manager, Rockville, MD
Is effective, efficient, and ethical
Bases decisions on merit rather than patronage or special interests
Works to improve the quality of life and serves long-term interests of the community
Promotes equity and fairness
Recognizes the interconnection between policies (connects the dots!)
Achieves broad inclusiveness and citizen participation
Continually strives to improve local government operations
16,519 Towns or Townships
37,381 Special Districts
13,051 School Districts
go to your city’s or county’s next council meeting and see what you learn from the meeting
contact a local government official and ask about shadowing him or her for a day
contact your local Parks and Recreation department to find out about
get appointed to a board or commission; testify at public hearings
become a professional manager; look into getting a graduate degree in Public Administration or Public Policy
-Become a student member of ICMA:
for more information visit
for more information
*Source: Municipal Year Book 2013, ICMA