Forms of Municipal Government
Under the aldermanic-city form, the legislative body ordinarily consists of two aldermen from each ward elected for a four-year term. Their terms are staggered so that half are elected every two years. The number of aldermen elected depends upon the population of the city. The mayor is the chief executive officer of the municipality. The mayor, city clerk, and city treasurer are elected at large (Village or citywide) to a four-year term. Other offices and vacancies are filled by appointment by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council, although it may be provided by ordinance that these offices be filled by election.
Under the trustee-village form, the legislative body consists of six trustees, generally elected from the village at large. The number of trustees does not vary with the size of the municipality. Villages of over 25,000 population may have each of the six trustees elected by district instead of from the village.The village president and clerk are elected at large, but the village treasurer is appointed. The term of the president, trustees, and clerk is four years, unless reduced to two years by referendum. As with the mayor in the aldermanic-city form, the appointments to all nonelective offices are made by the president with the advice and consent of the board of trustees. If the village collector is appointed, the village board may provide by ordinance that the elected village clerk also hold the office of village collector.
The commission form of government is limited to cities or villages under 200,000 population. Under this form, the voters elect at large a mayor and four commissioners who serve as the council. At the first regular meeting after an election, the council designates each member to be the commissioner of either of the following divisions:
- Accounts and finances
- Public health and safety
- Public property
- Streets and public improvements
The mayor serves as commissioner of public affairs. The council may elect the clerk and treasurer, as well as all the other officers whose appointment is not delegated, as it may be, to one commissioner. Each commissioner is given executive control over such administrative departments as may be assigned to him. By referendum, the electors
The manager form of government is available to all municipalities under 500,000 in population. The municipality may retain its governmental structure as an aldermanic-city form, trustee-village form, or commission form while adopting the features of the manager form. Under this form, the power of the council or board is purely legislative, except that it is empowered to approve all expenses and liabilities of the municipality. The manager is the administrative and executive head of the government for some purposes. The manager appoints and removes all officers not required to be elected. The appointment to most boards, commissions, and other municipal agencies resides in the mayor or president subject to council or board confirmation.
Strong Mayor Form
This form of government has an elected mayor, clerk, a treasurer and, depending upon the size of the community, from 8 to 20 aldermen elected from wards. The terms of elected officials are four years. The functions of an ordinary mayor are generally merged with the powers accorded a municipal manager. The mayor is given the power, without council approval, to appoint and remove his:
- Administrative assistants
- Budget and finance director
- Heads of all department and other officers of the municipality
- Members of commissions, boards and agencies, except those covered by civil service.
The powers of the council are purely legislative.
This "form" of government is not specifically sanctioned by statute but is in use in a number of municipalities. It may be used in all but the manager form of government. It is not really a "form" of government but rather a legislative device adopted by municipalities which seek a full-time administrator without the permanency of the manager form of government. Under this system, a municipality creates by ordinance the office or employment of "administrator" and endows such an office or employment with certain administrative powers.
Function of The Administrator
The administrator may be made the administrative head of all departments and may be given any power not specifically granted to another person by statute. The administrator may be appointed for a term or hired by contract, or his employment may be for an unspecified period. In any case, he may be removed like any other officer or employee subject to the payment of any valid remaining portion of his contract. This system of government allows for a full-time administrator to conduct the day-to-day operations of a community armed with as much or as little power as the corporate authorities may from time to time provide by ordinance.