Description of Council-Manager Government (from the International City Management Association)
Council-manager government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed manager or administrator. All power and authority to set policy rests with an elected governing body, which includes a mayor or chairperson and members of the council, commission, or board. The governing body in turn hires a nonpartisan manager who has very broad authority to run the organization.
Since its establishment at the turn of the 20th century, the council-manager form has become the most popular structure of local government in the United States.
In 2009, more than 3,500 cities with populations of 2,500 or greater were using the form as well 819 counties.