Reserach and Field Study in the Council-Manager Form of Government
Sydlow, Robert E.
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From January 9, 1980 through March 21, 1980, it was my opportunity to work as a student intern to the City Manager in Mentor, Ohio. By participating in city council meetings, I held a front row seat to the political aspects of Mentor's city government. The opportunity to interview and chat with various administrators and council members plays an integral role in the development of this paper. While it would be impossible to cover all the topics of which municipal government is a part, I have focused on those areas in which my internship provided the greatest access. To familiarize myself with the council-manager form, I researched the history and development of the council-manager plan, and have used this material as a starting point for this paper. Chapter two takes focus on my internship city, Mentor, Ohio, and examines the development of the plan in a "typical suburb", analyzing some of the problems focused on in chapter one. Chapter three adds a comparative perspective of the council manager plan in Europe. This chapter is included in its brief form merely to make note of the fact that the council-manager plan is not simply an American praxis. Chapter four is the heart of the paper and describes how policy is formulated in the council-manager plan. This chapter is integrated with research and field experience, and is directly oriented to the discipline of Political Science. Chapters five and six focus on two primary areas of policy, transportation, and recreation. My internship is used extensively in these two chapters as I attempt to show how the council-manager form of government responds to citizen demands in these two key areas. Chapter seven, while titled and including aspects of "The Future", also examines how technology has affected governmental structure in the past. This chapter describes some of the areas expected to arise in the future in the city of Mentor, and in city governments in general.