City Manager: Job Description, Duties and Salary

City Manager: Job Description, Duties and Salary

City managers are responsible for the oversight of all administrative tasks necessary for city operations and are appointed by a city council. They oversee city employees, maintain the city budget and represent the municipality in a variety of settings.

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Job Description

A city manager is responsible for directing a variety of administrative processes that allow a city to operate. It is their job is to implement and oversee policies crafted by city council. They are also responsible for documenting and presenting the city budget as well as interfacing with the community to develop new programs.

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Job Duties

Depending on the size of the city they work for, the duties of a city manager may vary. Those working for larger municipalities usually have a staff to help them with their workload, while managers of smaller cities perform a wider variety of tasks. Regardless of the size of their city, managers are generally responsible for budget management, department oversight, internal affairs and external relations.

City managers monitor, report on and make recommendations regarding the city budget. They typically work with the mayor and heads of each department to make sure that city finances remain balanced. Mangers prepare budget reports and deliver information to city leaders and the public regarding the fiscal state of the municipality.

The leader of each city department reports to the city manager. The oversight of these department heads allows for continuity of standards and policies across all city departments. Departments include parks and recreation, fire, police, water and transportation. In many cases, city managers appoint the head of each department.

City managers direct internal city operations and external relations. Externally, city managers are responsible for hearing the concerns and requests of their community and bringing them to the government. City managers must anticipate municipality needs and create programs to address them. Internally, they are responsible for implementing and overseeing policies to ensure all procedural requirements are followed. Based on research and community insight, they advise the city council and the mayor.

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Salaries for city managers vary based on municipality size. According to data collected by, salaries for most city managers ranged from $47,618-$151,434 annually as of July 2014. Pay also varies based on level of education and years of experience. reported in July 2014 that entry-level city managers earned a median of $67,000, while managers with 10-20 years of experience earned median salary of $97,000.