THE CITY MANAGER

THE CITY MANAGER

The appointment by those cities that have adopted the commission form of government of a managerial head is a departure that will be watched with much curious interest. A formidable number of municipalities have abandoned the old form and adopted the new plan of government, but only seven to our knowledge have chosen a City Manager, the most prominent of these being Dayton, Ohio. The new charters call for a city commission of five members elected for four years, with partial renewal of the commission every two years, and while the commissions constitute a legislative body they arc devoid of executive authority. As presiding officer the Mayor is recognized as the official head of the city by the courts for the purpose of serving civil processes and for all ceremonial purposes. The City Manager is the administrative head of the municipal government and is responsible for the efficient administration of all departments. He holds office at the will of the Commission, and like the members of the latter body, is subject to recall. His powers and duties are very broad; he appoints and removes all directors of departments, all subordinate officers in both classified and unclassified service; he can attend all meetings of the Commission and take part in all discussions, but has no vote. It will thus be seen that the City Manager is a powerful executive, and his selection must be made after careful deliberation. He must be a man of superior executive ability, keen business acumen, practical knowledge of municipal government and technical training along many lines. A civil engineer with experience in construction of various utilities seems to have appealed to those cities that have introduced the innovation. The City Manager of Dayton is accredited with being such a man, and Sumter, S. C., has also employed a civil engineer as City Manager. Having jurisdiction over the water system, lighting system and all other municipal departments, one conversant with engineering would seem to be nearest to an ideal official, provided he possesses the various other qualifications, which though minor in themselves, are very important as a whole.

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