Become a City Manager

City managers are appointed officials who oversee all aspects of a city’s operation. They perform a wide range of duties to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently, including implementing policies, meeting with committees, and appointing department heads to carry out decisions. Much of their time is spent attending meetings and advising commissions and committees on courses of action.

City managers regularly consult and meet with local high-profile politicians and other elected officials. They often face stressful situations that require mediation and immediate resolution.

Training for a City Manager Position

City managers typically hold a master’s degree in public administration with undergraduate experience in business or public administration, finance, or a similar field. Courses in economics, accounting, public relations and conflict resolution can also be beneficial for individuals in this field.

In addition to education, prior experience in management and government is highly recommended. Many candidates start out working in a local government office or a government agency and work their way up to an executive position. Additionally, managers often work for small towns or cities before transitioning to larger urban areas.

City Manager Job Description

City managers play an important role in establishing government policy and overseeing various departments and offices. While managers participate in important decision-making, they also delegate responsibilities and oversight to other department heads and managers.

City managers should be qualified to perform the following duties:

  • Meet with high-level officials, commissions and committees.
  • Advise others on issues of city development.
  • Create and maintain a budget.
  • Coordinate city services between different departments.
  • Resolve conflicts between city departments and outside agencies.
  • Improve the efficiency and implementation of city services.
  • Report to elected officials.
  • Respond to media inquiries and grant interviews.

City managers work full-time, year-round, unlike some other appointed and elected city government officials. Their work can be very demanding at times, involving long hours and travel to meetings. During slower periods, city managers may work typical 40-hour weeks and spend more time in the office.

City Manager Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of individuals employed in city managerial positions will increase by 8 percent through the year 2018. However, this can vary according to location. Although budget restraints may limit growth, as the population increases and responsibility for services is shifted from the Federal level to local and State governments, the demand for city workers may increase.

A May 2008 government report cites the average salary for a city manager as just under $95,600.

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