City Organization: How it Works

The council-manager form of government is the most popular structure of government organization in the United States. Utilizing this form of administration, San Antonio voters elect 11 representatives (10 district representatives and a mayor) to pass laws and establish policies for the city. The Mayor and each member of council is paid $20 per meeting attended. The Mayor is paid an additional $3,000 annually.

The Mayor and City Council are the community’s key decision makers. They focus on: the provision and efficiency of basic services; their district’s growth; capital improvement projects; land use and development; the city’s financial growth and economic development; and other important issues. Council members focus on how City policies not only meet the needs of their constituents, but also how they meet the goals of the entire community.

The Council hires a City Manager to serve as the City’s chief administrator. The City Manager is responsible for carrying out the actions and policies of the council by overseeing the day-to-day operation of the organization. Council members also rely on the city manager to provide them with professional advice before they take action on a specific issue.

Today, San Antonio’s City Manager oversees more than 12,000 employees in 37 departments who provide a wide range of municipal services. For example, City employees fight crime, put out fires, collect wastes, maintain streets, issue building permits, help senior citizens, provide recreation and cultural activities, and provide hundreds of other important services. The City Manager relies on department directors to ensure that these services are provided in an effective and efficient manner. The Manager also is charged with developing and overseeing an annual budget, which is approved by City Council each year, that pays for all of services the City provides to its customers.