A Council-Manager Form of Government
The City of Soledad uses the council-manager form as its system of local government. This form combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council as a governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. The form establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected council and where the council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services.
A Responsive Form of Government
In council-manager government, council members are the leaders and policy makers elected to represent all segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens’ needs and wishes. The city manager is appointed by council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. If the city manager is not responsive to the council’s wishes, the council has authority to terminate the city manager at any time. In that sense, a city manager’s responsiveness is tested daily.
The Council’s Function
The Soledad City Council is the legislative body; its members are the community’s decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected council, which approves the budget and determines the tax rate, for example. The council also focuses on the community’s goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning. The council hires a professional city manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and supervises the city manager’s performance. The city manager hires internal department heads and their staff members to focus on special areas of responsibility such as finance, public works, public safety, planning and development, and human resources.