Strong Mayor-Council


  • Mayor elected at large; council elected by districts; possible partisan election (mayor separate from council)
    • Council designated as legislative branch
    • Mayor designated as chief executive of administrative branch
    • Mayor has veto power; council override requires 2/3 or 3/4 majority; sometimes no override

Appointment Powers

  • Department heads generally subject to council approval (i.e., simple majority vote)
  • Department heads serve at mayor’s pleasure (i.e., mayor has firing power)
  • Few or no elected officers; either mayor appoints with council consent, or mayor recommends and council appoints
  • Mayor appoints all non-civil service department heads and officers
  • Mayor has full appointment powers

Management Authority

  • All administrative officials and employees are ultimately responsible to the mayor (mayor has administrative accountability)
  • As chief executive, the mayor is fully responsible for the administrative and intergovernmental affairs of the municipality
  • Council has oversight function, which is used most during budget review
  • Mayor is responsible for the general supervision of the administrative departments (i.e., mayor has management authority)

Budget Authority & Process

  1. Preliminary budget preparation - Separate departments prepare and submit to the mayor
  2. Final budget preparation - Mayor submits proposed budget to council
  3. Budget review - Council’s finance budget committee and full council
  4. Budget approval and adoption - Council
  5. Mayor has veto power over council changes; council override requires 2/3 or 3/4 majority
  6. Budget implementation - Mayor

Ordinance Powers

  • Council is the legislative body that establishes broad policy and local laws as ordinances and resolutions
  • Mayor is responsible for the enforcement of ordinances
  • Mayor may veto ordinances; council override requires 2/3 or 3/4 majority