On June 25, CCMF Executive Director Ken Pulskamp helped lead a four-person panel session at the League of California Cities’s Mayor and Council Members Executive Forum, titled “Creating & Maintaining Strong Council-Manager Relationships.” The panel was one of the most well-attended and well-received sessions of the entire three-day event.

Pulskamp was joined by three others who have a wide range of experience with the council-manager model: Bill Avery of William Avery & Associates; Bruce Channing, CCMF Board Trustee and City Manager of Laguna Hills; and Sam Racadio, former City Manager for Banning, Redlands and Highland, now a Council Member for Highland.

Below are a few collective highlights and ‘food for thought’ points from that session:

  • Successful cities have strong council-manager relationships–it is the single-most important factor in a city’s long-term success.
  • Council members all have their own goals and agendas to accomplish, but they need to realize their most important allies are their fellow Council members and their city managers.
  • A city manager is the key professional within your city’s organization, so do your due diligence when hiring.
  • Strong council-manager models always exhibit mutual respect and trust, and willingness to be a ‘team player.’
  • Council members should take time to understand a city manager’s role so they can work more effectively with city managers.

“People were coming up to us afterwards and telling us it was their favorite session,” said Pulskamp. “They appreciated all the specific advice they could bring back to their cities, and they liked that there was a lot of hands-on, how-to information.”

For more advice on building or maintaining a healthy council-manager model in your city, along with other helpful tools and resources, check out the Members-Only Resources section.