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The Commission-Manager form is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a commission or other governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government administrator or manager. The form establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected commission and where the commission hires a professionally trained administrator to oversee the delivery of public services. In Longwood, a 5 member commission is elected at-large in non-partisan elections. Their terms are for 3 years.
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In Commission-Manager government, commission 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 Commission to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served.
The City Manager is hired to serve the Mayor and Commission and the community and to bring to the local government the benefits of training and experience in administering local government projects and programs on behalf of the governing body. The Manager prepares a budget for the Mayor and Commission's consideration; recruits, hires, and supervises the government's staff; serves as the Mayor and Commission's chief adviser; and carries out the Mayor and Commission's policies. The Mayor and Commission and citizens count on the Manager to provide complete and objective information, pros and cons of alternatives, and long-term consequences.
The City Manager makes policy recommendations to the Mayor and Commission, but the Mayor and Commission may or may not adopt them and may modify the recommendations. The City Manager is bound by whatever action the Mayor and Commission takes.
The City of Longwood welcomes citizen participation in the decision-making process. Because professional local government management offers government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it sets the stage for citizen activism by encouraging open communication between citizens and their government. Citizens have the opportunity to present issues to the Mayor and Commission at General Meetings. In addition, citizens are encouraged to become members of boards and committees.