City Manager Job Description Template

A city manager, standing on the balcony overlooking the downtown.

Whether a city’s population is 200,000 or 2 million residents, ensuring that it runs smoothly requires deliberate, coordinated efforts. A city manager serves as the executive who leads those efforts and makes sure it all gets done. City managers help bridge the gap between politics and administration. Typically, they’re responsible for executing the city council’s laws, communicate other decisions, and manage city staff.

Demand for city managers will remain strong, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an estimated 10 percent year-over-year growth. This, however, heavily depends on the municipality’s annual budget.

Hiring the right city manager for a particular metro area can quite literally impact the day-to-day lives of thousands of residents. Use this city manager job description sample to guide you through creating a job listing that attracts the best applicants. Mix and match elements of the template to customize it according to your requirements.

A city manager, standing on the balcony overlooking the downtown.

City Manager

[Intro Paragraph] The introduction of your city manager job description should provide a high-level description of your city’s administrative organization. Sharing information about the history of the area, the total number of agencies and employees, as well as the administration’s values, culture, and philosophy for serving its residents can provide context for potential applicants. This section of the city manager job description is a great place to provide additional information about characteristic of the city or the administration that may not be typical for other cities within the state.

City Manager

  • Recommends programs and services by studying the changing needs of the city; identifying and anticipating community service trends; evaluating and offering options to the board of managers.
  • Provides city services by establishing and improving a functional structure; delegating authority.
  • Maintains city staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees.
  • Maintains city staff job results by coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results.
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies.
  • Achieves financial objectives by developing and recommending an annual budget; scheduling expenditures; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions; anticipating long-term issues.
  • Enforces board’s decisions by developing, monitoring, and enforcing policies and procedures.
  • Complies with federal, state, and local laws and regulations by studying existing and new legislation; anticipating future legislation; enforcing adherence to requirements; advising management on needed actions.
  • Promotes city services by coordinating and cooperating with federal, state, and other local units of government.
  • Keeps the mayor and the board informed by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing information and trends; remaining accessible; answering questions and requests.
  • Maintains rapport with the community by meeting with citizens and advisory groups; reaching out to resolve concerns; settling disputes.
  • Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.

[Work Hours & Benefits]

Like other top executives in government or private industry, city managers work longer hours than front-line employees or managers. Their schedule is often irregular and may include working evenings and weekends. City managers may also travel to professional conferences and conventions to meet with other city managers to exchange ideas, keep up with trends, and learn what’s working in other urban areas.

Benefits and pay for city managers vary greatly and depend on the city’s budget. It follows the pay grade guidelines set forth by the city council, which may also include performance-based bonuses.

City Manager Qualifications and Skills

City managers serve dual roles. They act as a public administrator and CEO of the local government. That means that the best candidates should have the skill and experience in directing a city’s bureaucracy to help the council make sound decisions. In addition, a qualified city manager must be a skilled public administrator to execute decisions and policies put forth by the council. Your city manager job description may include the following standard qualifications:

  • Excellent face-to-face communication and presentation skills
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills
  • Effective leadership skills and experience managing large and small teams
  • Willingness to learn from mistakes and give feedback on ways of improving
  • Collaborative and team oriented
  • Financial management in city government
  • Ethics in leadership, making value-based decisions
  • Experience with goal setting and program evaluation
  • Negotiation experience to resolve complex and sensitive problems

Education & Experience Requirements

Most municipalities hire city managers with a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration, or a related field. Candidates who’ve earned a Master of Public Administration or hold a public manager certification are even more attractive to city executives charged with making a hiring decision.

Employers generally require a minimum of five years of municipal government experience. The most qualified city managers also have backgrounds as an assistant city manager or department leader. A list of required experience in your city manager job description may include:

  • Managing and directing operations of a municipality
  • Experience with various types of governmental forms and relationships between professional managers and elected officials
  • Delegating authority and responsibilities
  • Knowledge of race and ethnic issues in cities
  • Understanding of HR management best practices, staff facilitation, and strategic planning

[Call to Action] Use the ending of your city manager job description to clearly communicate what they should do next if they’re interested in applying for the position. If you use an application tracking system to manage the recruitment process, be sure to include a link to the listing.

Ready to Find Your Next City Manager?

Now that you know how to craft a city manager job description that can hone in on the right candidates, the next step is to make sure it reaches them. At Monster we’re ready to put our experience to work for you. Get your candidate search started today by posting your job for free¬†with Monster.