The Localist Papers- Part 4 -The Structure of Local Government
Part 4- The structure of local government
Last time, we explained how the structure and form of our local governments have been altered slowly and methodically over the last 100 years. Almost all local governments are now one of a few different varieties. It is important to explain these, so that you understand how decisions are made and carried out.
Standard Plan and Plan A statutory cities have a weak mayor-council and have an elected mayor, city clerk, treasurer, and elected council members. A weak mayor-council organization allocates administrative and legislative duties to council members. A mayor has no greater authority than any other council member, with the exceptions of being the presiding officer at meetings and other minor functions of the office.
Plan B statutory cities (New Hope, Golden Valley) are council-manager plan for municipalities with over 1,000 residents. These cities have an elected mayor and council members with an appointed city manager (City employee). The city manager oversees administrative duties for the city while the mayor and council maintain policy making roles. The mayor’s role is the same as in the weak mayor-council plan.
Home Rule Charter cities (Crystal, Robbinsdale, Plymouth) derive their power from a charter. This process allows cities to form their own government and decide which officials should be elected or appointed.
There is a serious breakdown in our system of checks and balances to protect us from the consolidation of power that has occurred. What problems can occur? Find out next time.