The council/manager form of government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. General legislative power lies with City Council, the elected representatives of the citizens. Council hires the City Manager to be the government’s full-time Chief Administrative Officer, charged with administering the operations of city government and implementing policies enacted by Council.
The legislative body of Mason establishes laws and policies that are responsive to citizens’ needs and wishes by passing ordinances and resolutions. The council also appoints the city manager, adopts the city budget, approves appropriations and contracts in the city’s name, and levies taxes.
The council is composed of seven members of the community who are elected at-large to serve staggered four-year terms, with a limit of two consecutive terms. Half of Council is elected every two years. The mayor is elected by Council, from among its members, for a two-year term and serves as the executive head of Council, including presiding at city council meetings. The council also selects the vice mayor, who performs the duties of the mayor in his or her absence. Council appoints the clerk of council and law director.
City Council uses a committee system to help with matters that come before the council. Committees research, discuss, and evaluate issues and topics and make recommendations to the full council.
The city manager oversees the daily operations of the city, implements council objectives, oversees the staff, prepares the annual budget and administers it after adoption by Council, keeps Council advised on the financial needs of the city, and supervises the purchase of all materials, supplies, and equipment. The city manager is not expected to perform all these duties alone, and hires qualified individuals to help with specific tasks.
The city manager has full authority over the appointment and removal of all municipal personnel. Department heads are responsible solely to the city manager for carrying out the mission and responsibilities of their departments. Department heads include the economic development director, finance director, the city engineer, the police chief, the fire chief, the service director, the safety director, and superintendents of Public Utilities and Public Works. The department heads, together, with the immediate administrative team, make up the city manager’s leadership team.