The most important decision a Charter Review Commission will ever undertake is the question of changing its city’s form of government. A city’s form of government provides for its basic frame work of local governance by assigning authority and functions to government officials.
There are two predominant forms of governments operating today - the council-manager form, in which policy making power is vested equally in the elected body composed of the mayor and council members, and the mayor-council form of government where policy making powers are vested in an elected council and administrative powers in an elected executive.
Born out of the local government reform movement of the 1900s, council-manager government is today the predominant form of government of cities over 10,000 in population in the United States. The council-manager form of government is the corporate model of local government patterned after the private sector. In the council-manager form of government, powers are vested in an appointed executive chosen for his executive skill, education and experience.
On the other hand, the mayor-council form of government reflects the federal model of local government patterned after the division of powers in the federal government. In this form of government, policy making powers are vested in an elected council and administrative powers are vested in an elected executive.
As in many other middle and larger size cities, Daytona Beach has adopted a hybrid form of government blending characteristics of the council-manager and mayor-council forms of government. Daytona Beach's charter provides for a separately elected mayor to be the political and policy leader of the city while retaining all administrative functions and powers in a city manager. The Charter also allows, but does not demand, that the mayor can serve full time, and be compensated for his full-time commitment as approved by the City Commission. Although a large departure from the pure council-manager form of government which mandates a part-time mayor with largely ceremonial duties, this arrangement incorporates qualities of both forms of government organizing an effective sharing of responsibilities that have proved to work successfully.