Gabris, Gerald T.
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of Political Science
Local government--Illinois; City councils--Illinois; Mayors--Illinois
The differences between council-manager and mayor-council governments and the official roles within those governmental structures have been studied from many perspectives. Today, the research is also focused on the value that professional administrators bring to local government management regardless of structure. In Illinois, many mayor-council cities hire a professional city administrator whose responsibilities are established by local ordinance and resemble those of the city manager in council-manager municipalities whose authority is more firmly established under state law. The fundamental question underlying this research is whether there is a difference between the organizational influence of the chief administrator in council-manager and mayor-council cities. If the answer favors the council-manager form, then perhaps greater effort needs to be made in promoting that form of government. If not, then rather than focusing on structure, the emphasis needs to be more on how local governments as a whole are administered, how elected and appointed officials interact, and how greater professionalism can be brought to bear in the management of this nation's municipalities. A questionnaire was mailed to municipal officials in northeastern Illinois serving in statutory council-manager governments and in mayor-council municipalities with an appointed chief administrative officer. The survey tested for chief administrator professional influence in selected areas of municipal management and gauged the associated importance of form of government, relationships, and the environment on those influence indicators. Given their legal differences, it might have been expected that the distinction in form of government would have resulted in measurable differences in influence between the chief administrator in council-manager and mayor-council municipalities. Instead, what emerged from the research is the outline of a model of the professionally influential local government manager built more on organizational effectiveness, political and administrative relationships, long-term planning, and the level of organizational stability. What this perhaps suggests is that public administrators of today, and those who will teach the next generation(s) entering the field, need to particularly focus on ways to build relationships which are crucial in creating an environment that fosters organizational effectiveness.
Lichter, William T., "Chief administrator influence in Illinois council-manager and mayor-council cities" (2008). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1777.
x, 212 pages
Northern Illinois University
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