Managing Solutions for a Growing City
It is the responsibility of the City Manager's Office to provide the overall direction for the City organization in accordance with policies established by the City Council. Other responsibilities are to assure Council and citizen concerns are addressed, and City operations are conducted economically, efficiently and effectively. This office also develops recommendations to the City Council for changes in programs, operations and policies. In addition, the City Manager prepares a recommended budget each year for the Council's consideration.
The City Manager oversees the following departments: Community and Economic Development, Development Services, Engineering Services, Finance, Fire, EMS/Westcom, Human Resources, Human Services, Information Technology, Library, Parks and Recreation, Police and Public Services. The City Manager's Office also includes the Deputy City Manager, City Clerk, Communications Specialist and Executive Assistant.
Council-Manager Form of Government
The City of West Des Moines practices the council-manager form of government. In this form, the council is the governing body of the city elected by the public. The manager is hired by the council to carry out its policies. Councils usually consist of 5 to 9 members including a mayor. West Des Moines has five council members and a mayor. The mayor can be selected by the council or elected by the people as defined in the city charter. In West Des Moines, citizens elect the mayor.
This form of government stems from the Progressive movement. It aims to dim the influence of party politicians over city government that was considered prevalent in the mayor-council form of government. The Council essentially provides legislative direction for the city; they set policy, approve the budget, and establish the tax rate. The manager is responsible for the daily operations of the city based on the council’s recommendations and acts as the council’s chief advisor. Managers prepare the budget, direct operations, hire and fire personnel, and are generally responsible for the day-to-day activity of the City.