City Managers’ Policy Leadership in Council-Manager Cities
Posted: 26 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 2010
City managers’ policy leadership has drawn great attention from scholars of public administration. However, what factors explain variation in managers’ policy-making roles has not been systematically explored. This study investigates the mechanisms leading elected officials to defer to the manager in policy making. Survey data from Florida council-manager cities indicate that noninstitutional factors-such as mayors’ political experience, managers’ professionalism, and concordance of manager and council preferences-influence the likelihood that a council will allow a manager to exercise policy influence. The data reveal that city managers earn policy-making leadership at the expense of their administrative authority. Thus, managers must reconcile inherent tensions between responsibility and compliance.
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