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Selected articles on the city manager plan of government online

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Debaters' Handbook Series

American Merchant Marine

Debaters' Manual (2nd ed. enl.)

Capital Punishment (3d ed. rev.)

Commission Plan of Municipal Govern-
ment (3d ed. rev. and enl.)

Central Bank of the United States

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City Manager Plan

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Income Tax (3d ed. rev. and enl.)

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Minimum Wage

Monroe Doctrine (2d ed. rev. and enl.)

Mothers' Pensions

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National Defense Vol. I

National Defense. Vol. II

Open versus Closed Shop (2d ed.)

Parcels Post (2d ed. rev. and enl.)

Prohibition (2d ed.)

Recall (2d ed. rev. and enl.)


Single Tax (2d ed.)

Trade Unions (2d ed. enl.)


Woman Suffrage (3d ed. rev.)

World Peace (2d ed. rev. and enl.)

Other titles in preparation

Each volume, $1.25 net

Debaters* Handbook Series









Published May, 1918


Since the commission-manager plan was put into operation in
Sumter, S. C, in 1913, there has been an increasing interest in
this form of municipal government, and a constantly-growing
number of cities have adopted the plan. This handbook, true to
the purpose of the series, presents a brief, a selected bibliog-
raphy, and reprints of important articles, setting forth the
theory and principles of the new plan, arguments and experience
both in favor and against it, illustrative charts, and extracts
from city manager charters and statutes. The bulk of the
material was selected in 1917 but publication was unavoidably
delayed, and the volume has been brought down to date by the
addition of references to recent articles to the bibliography, and
the inclusion of additional reprints which will be found in the

E. M. P.
April 22, 1918.



Introduction xi

Affirmative xi

Negative xiii


Bibliographies xv

Texts and Digests of City Manager Charters xv

City Manager Statutes xvi

City Managers' Reports xvii

General References xix

Affirmative References xxiii

Negative References xxviii

Introduction i

Definitions of the City Manager Plan 7

Cities and Towns in the United States under City

Manager Government (map) lo

Municipalities Operating under City Manager Chart-
ers AND Statutes (table) 1 1

Municipalities Operating under a Modified Form of

City Manager Plan (table) 12

City Manager Statutes

Digest of New York City Manager Statute 13

Digest of Virginia City Manager Statute 15

City Manager Charters

Excerpts from a Model City Manager Charter I7

Typical City Manager Charter of Springfield, Ohio 22

Digest of the Charter of Dayton, Ohio 55

Upson, Lent D. Comment on the Dayton Charter

National Municipal Review 58

General Discussion

Toulmin, Harry Aubrey. The City Manager, Qualifica-

ions, Powers and Duties w

Childs, Richard S. The Theory of the New Controlled

Executive Plan National Municipal Review n


Childs, Richard S., Waite, Henry M. and others. Profes-
sional Standards and Professional Ethics in the New-
Profession of City Manager

National Municipal Review 84

First Advertisement for a City Manager, Sumter, S. C.


The First County Manager: A Model County Govern-
ment Short Ballot Bulletin 105

Affirmative Discussion

Bradford, Ernest S. Coming of the City Manager Plan. . 107

Childs, Richard S. How the Commission-Manager Plan

Is Getting Along National Municipal Review iii

Childs, Richard S. How the Commission-Manager Plan

Is Getting Along National Municipal Review 123

Certain Weaknesses in the Commission Plan of Muncipal

Government. Why the Commission-Manager Plan

Is Better 128

Waite, Henry M. The Commission-Manager Plan

National Municipal Review 131

Upson, Lent D. The City-Manager Plan of Government

for Dayton National Municipal Review 137

Organization of an American Business Organization

(chart) 142

The Principles of Business Organization AppHed to City

Government (chart) 143

Springfield's Present Organization 144

Results Accomplished in City-Manager Cities.

Hardin, M. H. Amarillo, Texas 145

How One City Manager Succeeded

Short Ballot Bulletin 146

Otis, Harrison G. First Annual Report of the City Coun-
cil and City Manager to the Citizens of Beaufort,

South Carolina 148

Manager Principle Applied to Beaufort (chart) 151

Carr, O. E. Cadillac, Michigan 152

City Managers' Report for 1916

Cadillac Evening News 154

Wilson, T. A. Clarinda, Iowa 156

Upson, Lent D. One Year of City Management in Day-
ton, Ohio Real Estate Magazine 158


Waite, H M. Dayton, Ohio Annual Report 164

Ekey, J. S. Grove City, Pennsylvania 176

Cornwell, S. C. How the City Manager Plan Works in

Hickory, North Carolina 177

Iowa Falls, lov^^a 179

Cummin, Gaylord C. Results Accomplished in Jackson,

Michigan 181

Cummin, Gaylord C. Jackson, Michigan

Report of 1915 182

First Year Under Plan C Government in Newburgh,

N. Y Newburgh Daily News 186

Newburgh, New York Newburgh Daily News 187

Bingham, C. A. Norwood, Massachusetts 191

Barnwell, W. G. Rock Hill, South Carolina 192

Miller, W. L. St. Augustine, Florida 193

The Sandusky Stuation 196

Reed, Thomas H. The City Manager Plan in San Jose

Pacific Municipalities 197

Mitchell, Karl. Sherman, Texas 203

Ashburner, C. E. Springfield, Ohio 206

Negative Discussion

Bradford, Ernest S. The Coming of the City Manager

Plan 209

Foulke, William Dudley. Some Cautions About the City

Manager Plan 210

McBain, Howard L. The Evolution of Types of City

Government in the United States

National Municipal Review 212

James, Herman G. Defects in the Dayton Charter

National Municipal Review 215

Fitzpatrick, F Stuart. Experience of Sandusky, Ohio . . .

National Municipal Review 218

Hatton, A. R. Ashtabula's Experiences

National Municipal Review 220

Williams, E. T. One Editor's Opinion of the City Man-
ager Plan in Niagara Falls, N. Y 221

Arguments Against the Adoption of the City Manager

Plan in Pasadena, California 223

Five Reasons Why the Citizen's Committee Opposed
the Adoption of the City Manager Plan in Pasadena,
California Pasadena Star-News. 227


Emslie, C. C. Argument Against the Adoption of the

City Manager Plan in Berkeley, California 229

Arguments Against the Adoption of the City Manager

Plan in Springfield, Massachusetts

The Springfield Union 231

Kansas City Defeats Manager Plan

Municipal Journal 233

Commission Form Loses Municipal Journal 234

City Manager Plan Defeated Municipal Journal 234

County Manager Charter Defeated. .. .Municipal Journal 234

Another County Charter Defeated. .. .Municipal Journal 235

Iowa City Managers Resign Municipal Journal 236


Muncipalities Under the City Manager Plan, March i,

1918 237

Proposed Aplication of the Manager Idea to the Gov-
ernment of Chicago Equity 238



I. Definition :

The city manager plan of municipal government means gov-
ernment by a single elective council or commission representa-
tive, supervisory, and legislative in function ; and a chief execu-
tive called a "city manager" appointed by the commission solely
by reason of his knowledge of municipal affairs and administra-
tive ability, to have control of the work of administrative depart-

Cf. H. A. Toulmin's "The City Manager," pp. 76 and 225. National
Short Ballot Organization, "Commission Government With a City Manager."

II. History:

Staunton, Va., in 1908 originated the city manager idea.

The "Lockport Proposal" to the New York legislature in 191 1
combined the city manager idea with the commission plan.

Sumter, S. C, adopted the first commission manager charter
in June, 1912.

Dayton, Ohio, adopted the plan in 1913. Forty-five cities have
since accepted city manager charters and many others have ap-
plied the manager idea to municipal affairs without charter re-
vision. Several states have adopted city manager statutes.

The City Manager's Association was formed in 1914 and has
held three conventions.

City manager proposals are now before charter revision
committees in many cities, and the new profession of city man-
agership is rapidly being established.

Cf. H. A. Toulmin's "The City Manager," Chapters II-VI. H. S.
Gilbertson, "Sketch of the Movement," in "Commission Government With a
City Manager," by National Short Ballot Organization.


I. The city manager plan gives the people better control over
the government, for
A. The organization of the government is simple, and all
advantages of the short ballot are realized.


B. All powers are unified in a single, small elective com-

mission and responsibility is unmistakably fixed.

C. It enables the people to elect for considerations of

representation only, for

1. It abandons all attempts to choose good administra-

tors by election.

2. The technical work of administration is performed

by appointive officials not by the commissioners.

D. The people's representatives, the commissioners, have

power to remove the manager at any time if he is
incompetent or insubordinate.

E. Men of ability will be attracted to the position of

commissioner, for
I. Commissioners' positions offer opportunities of
great usefulness without interference with pri-
vate business.

F. It abolishes one-man power, for

1. The manager is subject at all times to the com-


2. No one member of the commission can exercise

authority over the city administration, except as
a voting member of the group of commissioners.

II. The city manager plan provides efficiency and expert mu-
nicipal administration, for

A. It creates a simple administrative organization with a

single executive head.

B. The city manager is appointed solely because of his

knowledge and experience in municipal affairs and
his executive ability.

C. Subordinate administrative officers are appointed by

the city manager solely because of their training
for the post to which they are assigned, and in large
cities are subject to civil service provisions.

D. There is continuity of policy and stability in adminis-

tration, for
I. The tenure of the city manager is comparatively

E. There is a basis for good discipline and harmony in

administration, for

BRIEF xiii

1. The manager cannot safely be at odds with the


2. Subordinate administrative officers are accountable

to the manager,
F. It promotes the establishment of the profession of mu-
nicipal administration in the United States, for

1. Tenure of the city manager, being dependent upon

his efficiency alone, makes it worth while for men
to seek training in municipal affairs.

2. The individual manager may migrate from city to

city, advancing from a small to a large city as the
results of his work merit.

3. Schools and colleges, and civic associations are

placing increased emphasis on training for public
service as a result of the new opportunities
opened for careers as city managers.

4. The City Managers' Association has been formed

to promote the city manager plan and to provide
a clearing house for exchange of ideas and ex-
perience among members of the new profession.

III. The city manager plan is in successful operation in many
American cities, for

A. It has produced results in the large cities in which it

is in operation, namely Dayton, Ohio, Springfield,
Ohio, Jackson, Mich., Newburgh, N. Y. and San
Jose, California.

B. It has increased the efficiency of the administration of

small cities in which it is in operation, namely
Sumter, S. C, Hickory, N. C, Cadillac, Mich., Sher-
man, Texas and St. Augustine, Fla.


I. The city manager plan centralizes power in the hands of
too few men, for
A. Centralization of power increases the opportunity to
play politics on an intensive scale, for
I. Politics interfered with the administration under
the city manager plan in Phoenix, Ariz., S^r\r
dusky, Ohio and Ashtabula, Ohio.


2. The city manager plan is too new and adventurous
for most American cities.

II. The city manager plan would result in government not
responsive to the people's wishes, for

A. A commission of five business men cannot represent

all classes and divisions of the city.

B. Administrative officials are several steps removed from

control by the people whom they serve.

C. The city manager plan assumes that the employment

of experts obviates the need of educating the elec-

III. Expert administration is not guaranteed by the city

manager plan, for
A. The commission is unlimited in its choice of a man-
ager and may choose an untrained and incom-
petent man.

IV. The city manager plan has produced questionable results

in several cities in which it has been in operation, namely,
Ashtabula, Ohio, and Sandusky, Ohio.

V. The city manager plan has been in operation too short a
time to warrant its general adoption in American cities.



Beard, Charles A. Digest of short ballot charters. The Na-
tional Short Ballot Organization, 383 Fourth Ave., New York
City Manager Plan : Comprehensive list of references. 37p. Cleve-
land Miniicipal Reference Library. Jan. 191 7.
Obtainable only in typewritten form through the Public Affairs Infor-
mation Service, $1.85.

Independent. 86:40. Ap. 3, '16. City manager plan debate. Ref-
erences. R. S. Fulton.

Munro, William Bennett. Bibliography of municipal govern-
ment. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Mass. 1915.

National Municipal Review. A bibliography of recent publica-
tions dealing with municipal problems is included in each
issue of the National Municipal Review. Publications dealing
with the city manager plan are listed currently. North Amer-
ican Bldg. Philadelphia, Pa.

Public Affairs Information Service. Bulletin for 1915. p. 174,
180-3. Contains also notes regarding progress of city man-
ager plan. H. W. Wilson. See later annuals also.

Toulmin, Harry, A., Jr. The city manager. Appendix E. Apple-
ton, 1915.

University Debaters' Annual, 1915-1916. p. 175-8. H. W. Wilson.

United States. Library of Congress. List of references on the
City manager plan. N. 28, '14. Typewritten copy 15c.


Model city charter and municipal home rule. Final Edition, Mar.
15, 1916. Published by National Alunicipal League, North
American Bldg. Philadelphia.

Albion, Mich. Charter adopted Nov. 9, 1915.

Amarillo, Texas. Charter adopted Nov. 18, 1913.

Ashtabula, Ohio. Text of the novel features of the charter re-
lating to proportional representation. Ashtabula Chamber of
Commerce, Ashtabula, Ohio.


Brownsville, Texas. Charter adopted Oct. 25, '15.

Cadillac, Mich. Charter adopted Dec. 9, '13. City Clerk, Cadillac,

Collinsville, Okla. Adopted Jan. 9, 1914. City Clerk, Collinsville.

Dayton, Ohio. Charter adopted Aug. 12, 1913. Published by the
Bureau of Research. Schwind Bldg., Dayton, Ohio.

Durango, Colo. Proposed amendments to the city charter, 1915.
Commissioner of records and seal. Durango, Colo.

East Cleveland, Ohio. Proposed charter and statement by the
charter commission adopted June 6, 1916. In effect Jan. 1918.
G. J. Provo, Secretary, East Cleveland, Ohio.

Montrose, Colo. Charter adopted Jan. 12, 1914. S. V. Hobough,
City Clerk, Montrose, Colo.

Phoenix, Ariz. Amended Charter. Published by order of the
commission of the city of Phoenix, 1915.

Petoskey, Mich. Charter adopted Feb. 14, 1916.

Saint Augustine, Fla. Charter adopted June 7, 1915. Published
with a statement in favor of the charter by the Saint Augus-
tine Chamber of Commerce.

San Jose, Calif. Charter adopted July i, 1916. City Manager,
San Jose, Calif.

Sherman, Texas. Proposed charter reported by charter com-
mission. Jan. 21, 1915. City Clerk, Sherman, Texas.
This charter provides for a council of sixteen members. From their

own number the councilmen select two, who may be recalled by them at

any time, to act with the mayor as city commission. This commission

chooses and removes the city manager.

Springfield, Ohio. Charter in effect Aug. 26, 1913.
Taylor, Texas. Charter in effect. Apr. 1914.
Wheeling, W. Va. Greater Wheeling charter. Adopted by 660
vote, to be in effect July i, 1917.

Digests of city manager charters of the following cities will be found in
Beard's "Digest of Short Ballot Charters," and reprinted in "The Com-
mission-Manager Plan of Municipal Government," published by the National
Short Ballot Organization, 383 P"ourth Ave., New York, N. Y.; Dayton, O.;
Springfield, O.; Hickory, N. C. ; Sumter, S. C. ; Amanllo, Texas; Cadillac,
Mich.; Jackson, Mich.; Sherman, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Manistee, Mich.;
Montrose, Colo.; Taylor, Texas; Collinsville, Okla.; Sandusky, O.; Ashta-
bula, O.; Bakersfield, Cal.; La Grande, Ore.


Iowa. City manager statute. Approved, 1914.
Idaho. Commission-manager statute. Approved, 1917. Cf. Na-
tional Municipal Review, p. 417. May, 1917.
Kansas. City manager statute. Approved February 17, 191 7.


Massachusetts. City manager statute. Chapter 267, General
Acts of 1915 entitled "An Act to SimpHfy the Revision of
City Charters." Part V, Plan D, Mayor, city council and
city manager.

Montana. City manager statute. Approved, 1917. Cf. National
Municipal Review, p. 417, May, 1917.

New York. City manager statute. Chapter 444, Laws of New
York, 1914. Approved April 16, 1914, entitled "An Act to
Authorize a City of the Second or Third Class to Adopt a
Simplified Form of Government." Plan C, outlined in Article
V, is called a "government by limited council with appointive
city manager."

A summary of the provisions of this statute and an outline of Plan C
will be found m Beard's "Digest of Short Ballot Charters."

North Carolina. City manager statute. Approved March 6, 191 7.
Plan D of optional city charter law provides for commission
manager. Cf. National Municipal Review, p. 417. May, 1917.

Ohio. City manager statute. Laws of 1913, p. 767 et. seq., entitled
"An Act to Provide Optional Plans of Government for Mu-
nicipalities and Permitting the Adoption Thereof by Popular
Vote in Accordance with Article XVIII, Section 2, of the
Constitution of Ohio." The City manager plan is outlined in
Article IV.
A brief digest of city manager provisions of the Ohio law will be found

in Beard's "Digest of Short Ballot Charters."

South Dakota. Lyon city manager act. Passed in 191 7. Cf. Mu-
nicipal Journal, p. 420,. March 22, 1917.

Virginia. City manager statute. Ch. 94, Acts to Assembly, 1914,
entitled "An Act to Provide for a Change in the Form of
Government of Cities Having a Population of less than 100,000
and of Towns and to Provide in What manner Such Cities
and Towns May Adopt Such Form of Government." Ap-
proved March 13, 1914.
Section 6 c provides for the City Manager Plan.

City manager bills in 191 7 Legislatures.

Bills permitting cities to adopt the city manager plan were introduced in

the legislatures of New Jersey, Nebraska, and Indiana in 19 17. The Indiana

bill died in the Senate committee.


Alhambra, Calif. First annual report of the city manager, July i,
1916. Charles E. Hewes, City Manager.


Beaufort, S.C. First annual report of the city council under the
commission manager plan to the citizens. May i, 1916. - Har-
rison G. Otis, City Manager.
Reprinted. See p. 148 of this volume.

Dayton, Ohio. City Manager's report. Jan. i-June 30, 1914.
H. M. Waite, City Manager. Dayton Bureau of Research.
613 Schwind Bldg.

Dayton, Ohio. First annual report of the city commission to the
people. Jan. i, 1915. Published by the citizens committee, 604
Commercial Bldg., Dayton, Ohio.

Dayton, Ohio. Annual report of the city of Dayton for the year

1915. Published by the city commission June, 1916. Dayton
Bureau of Research. 613 Schwind Bldg.

Excerpts reprinted. See p. 164 of this volume.

Dayton, Ohio. Budget of the City of Dayton, 1916. Dayton
Bureau of Research, 613 Schwind Bldg.

Hickory, N.C. Annual report of the city manager for the fiscal
year ending April 30, 1915; ibid April 30, 1916. S. C. Corn-
well, City Manager.

Jackson, Mich. Report of the city manager to the city commis-
sion, 1915. G. C. Cummins, City Manager.

Reprinted. See p. 182 of this volume.
Montrose, Colo. Semi-annual reports of the city manager. Mar.

13 to June 30, 1914; ibid July i, to Dec. 31, 1914. P. W.

Pinkerton, City Manager.
Montrose, Colo. Annual report of city manager, Dec. 31, 1915;

ibid 1916. J. E. McDaniel, City Manager.
Newburgh, N.Y. First annual report of city manager to the

city commission, financial statement and budget for the year,

1916. Henry Wilson, City Manager.
Excerpts reprinted. See p. 187 of this volume.

San Jose, Cal. Report of progress, July i to November 30, 1916,

submitted to the city council by city manager, Thomas H.

Springfield, Ohio. Annual report of the city of Springfield, Ohio,

1914; ibid 1915. C. E. A. Ashburnei", City Manager.
Westerville, Ohio. First annual report for the year, 1916. Ray S.

Blinn, City Manager.
Winnetka, 111. First annual report for the year ending Mar. 31,

1916. R. L. Fitzgerald, Business Manager.



Academy of Political Science. 5 : 263-341. Ja. '15. Home rule for
cities. H. L. McBain, L. A. Tanzer, M. H. Glynn, J. P.
Mitchell, D. F. Wilcox and others.

Alabama Municipal League. Proceedings, Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dec.
3-4, 1914. City manager plan of government discussion.

American City. 12:499-514. Je. '15. City manager plan in forty-
five cities.
Information regarding city managers who are now holding office in the

United States, including portraits and biographical data.

American City. 14:513. Mj'. '16. Provisions of a model city
charter. C. R. Woodruff.

American City. 15 : 380-1. O. '16. City manager plan in a boy
city. R. D. Leigh.

American City. 15:413-22. O. '16. Some city manager portraits
and biographies.

American City. 17:533-48. D. '17. Advance of the city manager

American Municipalities. 27: 51. My. '14. Montrose, Colo., adopts
city manager plan.

American Political Science Review. 7:653-5. N. '13. Progress.
A. M. Holden.

American Political Science Review^. 8:602-13. N. '14. The city
manager plan, the latest in American city government. H. G.

American Political Science Review. 9:561-3. Ag. '15. Develop-
ments relating to the commission and city manager form of
municpal government. A. M. Holden.

Annals of American Academy. Vol 41. May. '12. Efficiency in
city government.

Annals of American Academy. 62 : 163-75. N. '16. Budgetary pro-
cedure under the manager form of city government. Arch
M. Mandel.

Ashtabula. Chamber of Commerce. The Ashtabula plan of mu-
nicipal government, the commission form with proportional
representation. Ashtabula, Ohio.

Baxter, Sylvester. Berlin : A study of municipal government in
Germany. Salem Press Publishing and Printing Co. 1889.

Beard, Charles A. Digest of short ballot charters. National
Short Ballot Organization. 191 1.
Excerpts reprinted. See pp. 7, 13, 55 of this volume.


Berkeley. California City Club. Civic Bulletin, April 15, 1914.
The city manager plan for Berkeley.

Bluefield, W.Va. The city manager plan — some phases in 60
cities, data compiled in 1916, by W. L. Shafer.

Bradford, Ernest S. Commission government in American cities.
Macmillan. 191 1.

Bruere, Henry. The new city government. Appleton. 1912.

California Outlook. O. 25, '13. The commission form and the
city manager plan. E. M. Wilder. Commissioner, Sacramento.

City Manager's Association. Third Annual Report : Proceed-
ings of the Third Annual Meeting held at Springfield, Mass.,
November 20-23, 1916. 88 pages, paper. 25c.

Online LibraryEdward Charles MabieSelected articles on the city manager plan of government → online text (page 1 of 25)