Form of Government
Mayor & Council
Howell Township is served by a council-manager form of government. In council-manager government, council members are the leaders and policy makers elected to represent various segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes. The manager is appointed by the Mayor and Council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served.
Born out of the U.S. progressive reform movement at the turn of the 20th century, the council-manager system was designed to combat corruption and unethical activity in local government by promoting effective management within a transparent, responsive, and accountable structure. Since its establishment, the council-manager form has become the most popular structure of local government in the United States.
The Mayor and Council is the legislative body; its members are the community's decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected Mayor and Council, which approves the budget and determines the tax rate, for example. The Mayor and Council also focuses on the community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning. The Mayor and Council hire a professional manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and supervise the manager's performance.
Mayors in council-manager communities are key political leaders and policy developers. In the case of the council, the mayor is responsible for soliciting citizen views in forming these policies and interpreting them to the public. The mayor presides at council meetings, serves as a spokesperson for the community, facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, assists the council in setting goals and advocating policy decisions, and serves as a promoter and defender of the community. In addition, the mayor serves as a key representative in intergovernmental relations. The mayor, council, and manager constitute a policy-development and management team.