A City Manager
By Robert Anthony Robinson
Research by Katie Rhoads
Whether serving a huge
metropolis like New York City or Chicago, or a small village like Dimondale,
Michigan, city managers are highly involved in their communities. It is the responsibility of a city manager to prepare the
annual budget, plan for future growth of the city and its surroundings, and to
see that the city laws and ordinances are enforced.
need to keep the council informed on the issues, so I have to know,” says
Denise Parisian, Dimondale village manager.
“Because a village is a small city, we don’t have a lot of
professional staff, so the manager has a lot of responsibilities.
My biggest job is to keep things moving. I must keep myself educated and a little bit ahead of
everybody else so I can coordinate (what goes on).
I rely on consultants and other professionals and spend a fair amount of
time doing research.” Her many
other responsibilities as village manager include accounting and book work,
banking, personnel, payroll and employee benefits.
“I check in with each of the departments (in Dimondale government) and
I spend a lot of time preparing agendas and meeting packets, researching,
reading and doing background work.”
Outlook: Next 10 Years
to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 2.8
percent increase in the need for government chief executives and legislators
(including city managers) in the next 10 years.
Because this job is a public service position, there are no self-employed
city managers. Very few city managers are unemployed or employed part time.
While city managers work in cities, similar jobs may exist in villages,
counties, towns, townships and other special districts.
State and Local Government Positions as of 1999 80,000
Total needed by 2010
Number of Available Positions Each Year 6,000*
to growth and total replacement needs.
am subject to whatever happens over the telephone or whoever walks in the door.
We are here to serve our public, so I feel it’s important to address
the issues as they come in. You need to like people, because you spend most of your hours
with those who need something. You
must have the answer and people aren’t always happy with it so you need good
communications skills,” says Parisian, who writes dozens of letters and memos
and sees scores of people each day. The
ability to coordinate projects, and plan them from start to finish is also
essential. Managers must exercise
good personal judgment and efficiently perform a variety of frequently-changing
duties. They may have to accept frequent criticism, and do so gracefully with
tolerance and patience.
10 - 15 Years
and benefits depend largely upon the size of the city for which a city manager
works. Most managers receive paid
vacations, sick days and holidays, as well as life, accident, disability and
hospitalization insurance. Some are
provided with a car or a car allowance.
and educational requirements vary from city to city, and depend largely upon the
size of the community. “I
recommend having an accounting background with some management. And it’ s been good for me to be in school while I have had
this job. It has kept me at the
forefront in public relations, personnel and management,” says Parisian. Most
city, village or towns require a bachelor’s degree in public administration.
“The manager’s position [for the village of Dimondale] requires a
degree in a business field or public administration,” says Parisian.
Most colleges and universities in Michigan have accredited, four-year
public administration programs. Students
participating in such a program will undergo course work in social sciences,
public affairs management, recreation planning, zoning, personnel relations,
contract negotiations, budget development and economic policies.
The Effective Local Government Manager
By Charldean Newell & David N. Ammons
Without Fear or Favor: Odyssey of a City,
LeRoy F. Harlow, ISBN#: 0-842514-61-9
the World Wide Web
Web site for the International City and County Management Association.
ICMA is a professional and educational organization for appointed
managers and administrators in local government around the world.
Copyright © 2000 Robert Anthony
Robinson. Used with permission.
About Robert Anthony
Robert Anthony has been a freelance author, visual artist, and technical
writer for more than 20 years. He
has worked on a multitude of high-end professional writing and marketing
projects including Web editorial development, technical writing, sales
presentation writing and development, magazine writing, and advertising design.
To date, he has more than 600 published stories and designs to his credit
including works in LIS, BROKER WORLD, POPULAR WOODWORKING, WOODSHOP NEWS, THE
EBBING TIDE, BUSINESS MONTHLY, www.wordarchive.com,
and PROFILES. His specialties are
how-to and profile stories, publication design and layout and advertising
As a pioneering project manager for the award-winning web sites, PROFILES
ONLINE, and writer for MOIS [Michigan Occupational Information Service], Robert
Anthony has helped pioneer structured approaches to web-based editorial content
and design. From 1994 to 1999 he
served as Executive Editor for PROFILES magazine and PROFILES ONLNE, as well as
Communications Director for Employee Compensation Advisors, Incorporated from
1988 to 1994. In addition to his 22
years of marketing experience, he is currently enrolled in motivational
psychology studies at Michigan State University.
Robert Anthony resides with his wife and three children in Lansing,
Michigan, a town he claims is America’s biggest small town.
For portfolio samples and a one-time, free consultation, call:
Robert Anthony Robinson, 2843 East Grand River Avenue, #133, East Lansing, MI
48823; Tel: (517) 487-3691; Fax: (517) 487-3691; E-mail:
Website at: www.profilesonline.com