Research Request: Communicating with Council


As part of your membership benefits, the Alliance staff provide research services for local government member submitted requests. Topics can range from pressing issues to emerging trends. This benefit is made possible through our partnership with Arizona State University Marvins Andrews Fellowship

Request Prompt:

“Local government staff communications with council” 

Summary of Findings: 

Relevant Resources: 


‘Relationship Between City Council and City Manager Staff’ -, League of California Cities 

Best practices for clarifying roles and interaction between local government operators (Council/ Administrator/ Professional Staff) 


‘Council Relations Policy and Code of Ethics’ for City of College Station, TX - 

Template for code of ethics and communications between staff and council 


‘COUNCIL/MANGER/STAFF RELATIONS How can we work together?’ -, League of Oregon Cities 

Continued overview of interactions 


‘Elected Official Direction to Staff’-, Institute for Local Government 

Provides a possible question from a newly elected council member and how decisions are made (and communicated) in local government. 


‘Council-Manager Relations: Communicating and Sharing Ideas’ -, ICMA 

Key highlights: 

“…it is the role of the manager to implement policies set by elected officials. This generally means that they shouldn't interfere with the manager's decisions on how to implement policy. Similarly, the manager needs to try not to influence the policy-making duties of the officials except when called upon to provide recommendations and guidance on other policy questions.” 

“If governing officials have more time to consider a specific issue, they are more likely to come to a better conclusion than if the question is one of several big decisions they have to make at the same time.” 

“By making time to meet with them individually, managers can strengthen their relationship with them as a whole and generate more good ideas that can help the organization function most effectively.” 

Other resources are linked within the article 


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