Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Build Better Relationships between Elected Officials and City Staff

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Build Better Relationships between Elected Officials and City Staff

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during the Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congress of Cities and Exposition in Reno, Nev., Dec. 5-9.

The roles and relationships between elected and appointed officials are changing at a rapid pace. It is becoming more common in cities and towns for the mayor to be directly elected, which in turn has the effect of giving the mayor more informal powers.

The roles of council members are also changing. Many are taking on the role of a full-time official for their city or district and spending much more time in city hall, interacting one-on-one with the city manager and top staff.

There is also a new direct interest in understanding the administrative role of the city manager. Elected officials are asking important questions about not only why something is taking place, but how it is being handled. The role of the city manager is also changing. The city manager is taking a more active part in developing policy issues and being involved in community building. City managers are spending more and more time directly with their elected officials, though this depends a great deal on the size and complexity of the community. In some communities the city manager is even asked to be involved in city council problems and relationships. No one said it would be easy.

In light of the new role models emerging, how do we cope with these changes? Effective and productive relationships among city councils, managers and staff do not occur by accident. …

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