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Mayor-council government

Mayor-Council government is one of two variations of government most commonly used in modern representative municipal governments. The Mayor-Council variant can be broken down into two main variations depending on the relationship between the legislative and executive branches.

See also: council-manager government

Weak-Mayor Form

In this form of the mayor-council government, the council possess both legislative and executive authority. The council may appoint officials and must approve of mayorial nominations. The council also exercises primary control over the municipal budget.

Charles Adrian and Charles Press explain, "The weak-mayor plan is a product of Jacksonian democracy. It comes from the belief that if politicians have few powers and many checks, then they can do relatively little damage."

This form of government is most commonly used in small towns.

Strong-Mayor Form

In the strong-mayor form the mayor is given almost total administrative authority, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval. Likewise, the mayor prepares and administers the budget.

In some strong-mayor governments, the mayor will appoint a chief administrative officer (CAO) who will supervise department heads, prepare the budget, and coordinate departments. This CAO is responsible only to the mayor.

See also: council-manager government, political science