Managing Local Government: An Essential Guide for Municipal and County Managers offers a practical introduction to the changing structure, forms, and functions of local governments. Taking a metropolitan management perspective, authors Kimberly Nelson and Carl W. Stenberg explain U.S. local government within historical context and provide strategies for effective local government management and problem solving. Real-life scenarios and contemporary issues illustrate the organization and networks of local governments; the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of city and county managers; and the dynamics of the intergovernmental system. Case studies and discussion questions in each chapter encourage critical analysis of the challenges of collaborative governance. Unlike other books on the market, this text’s combined approach of theory and practice encourages students to enter municipal and county management careers and equips them with tools to be successful from day one.

Enhancing Council–Manager Effectiveness

Enhancing Council–Manager Effectiveness

The most basic issue regarding roles and responsibilities for councilmembers is whether—or maybe when—they will act in their role as representatives of constituencies—customer service representatives—in contrast to acting as “trustees” of the community.

—John Nalbandian (2016, p. 22)

The ideological and political trends discussed in the previous chapter have sometimes produced dysfunctional effects on governing boards. To the extent that elected officials are interested primarily in promoting particular causes or special constituencies, micromanaging administration, and criticizing their colleagues and the staff, prospects for responsible decision making in the public interest are diminished. Tensions on the governing body are exacerbated in such cases by two gaps: the knowledge and experience that separates a full-time professional staff from a body of part-time elected ...

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