Without an Elected Chief Executive (a Mayor),
A Community Lacks Political Leadership.
Real Mayors are Replaced by
Technocratic City Managers.
Council "Mayors" are Ceremonial.
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Number of Washington State Cities Using Each Form of Government
Most Cities are Classified as Code Cities

Three Quarters of Code Cities (227/54) Use the Mayor/Council Form

Retrieved 12/8/22 from:

Cities Changing Form of Government Since 1970,
The Year the Council/Manager Option First Became Available,
So a Rush for Something New

Note the cities that reverted back to Mayor/Council.  Other cites that changed to Mayor/Council were originally incorporated as Council/Manager, together a significant number.

Retrieved 12/9/22 from:

MRSC Document:
Common Issues and Pro/Con Arguments in Elections to Change Form of Government

"Arguments Against the Council-Manager Form

Critics of the council-manager plan argue the following:

The council-manager form gives too much power to one person - the city manager.

 A professional manager, often chosen from outside the city, does not know the community and is too far from the voters.

 Councils may leave too much decision making to the manager, who is not directly accountable to the public.

Without an elected chief executive, the community lacks political leadership.

The council-manager form is too much like a business corporation which is not suitable for managing community needs.

 City managers cost too much, local people could handle the job for less cost.

Citizens may be confused about who is in charge. Most expect the mayor to respond to their problems. The mayor has no direct control over the delivery of services and can only change policy through the city council.

City managers may leave a city when offered higher salaries and greater responsibilities.


Which Form Of City Government Is Best?

The Mayor/Council form of city government has a balance of power between the executive (mayor) and legislative (council) branches, whereas the Council/Manager form of city government "is too much like a business corporation which is not suitable for managing community needs." Also, "without an elected chief executive, the community lacks political leadership." (Both quotes Municipal Research and Service Center).  Additionally, the Common Good principle of subsidiarity is weakened by the bureaucratization of city government, effected by moving decision making authority from elected officials to staff (mayor to manager).

MRSC Document:
Commentary: The Unofficial Role of the Administrator

"Many communities, looking for the benefits of professional management without the requirement of going through a formal election to change the form of government, have chosen to create a position similar to that of a city manager, but under the authority of the mayor. The resulting hybrid form of government is often described as being “the best of both worlds” that includes elected leadership with professional management of day-to-day local operations. Having worked in such a position for nearly my entire professional career in local government, I can answer the question “Is it truly the best of both worlds?” without the slightest sense of irony or hesitation: “yes and no.” "

Video of Camas Committee Presentation on City Government Form
Chaired by Nan Hendrickson
Advocated for replacing Camas' real mayor with an appointed city manager
April 16, 2018

Starts at 14:20 Minutes