Urban Studies Paper on Local Government Structure (Scottsdale, Arizona, United States)
Scottsdale Arizona is an American city located in the eastern part of Maricopa County, and is adjacent to Greater Phoenix Area. The city has been among those rated most desirable communities to live in, to visit, and to do business. Its downtown is seen as the finest urban center in Arizona, with more than ninety restaurants, over three hundred and twenty retail shops and over eighty art galleries. The city has a municipal type of government headed by the Mayor who is assisted by a vice mayor in case of former’s absence or when the mayor has a disability of any kind during his term. With the presence of the council, they combine to form a government that checks, plans and administers the way city functions. The provisions and functions of the city of Scottsdale are as per the charter which has been created under the Constitution of the state. Almost all the powers of this city are vested in the elective council. All these frame the local legislation, adopt the city’s budget, determine policies and at the same time, the position of city manager (Devashree et al. 28).
The city of Scottsdale is governed by a mayor and a city council; the two heads of the city are elected to represent the whole city. The council has several duties and obligations. For example, they have the right to acquire properties for the purpose of the city. The council has the duty to use the land laws when reducing the rights of private property in case of any compensation. Just like any other city, there is need to improve, extend, maintain, and facilitate the Scottsdale water discharge from rivers, and the sewerage system. It is the responsibility of the council to appoint officers who are in charge of such projects of the city. They plan for the city’s floodways and floods, and lastly, they adopt and amend the general plan of the city (Devashree et al. 28). Apart from the above mentioned duties of the council, they also have general provisions like appointing the city manager, city treasurer, city clerk, city attorney and the auditor of the Scottsdale city. All the head of departments that are elected by the council report directly to the council. The council, in turn, has the responsibility of collectively managing the affairs of the city. The officers that are appointed by the council have the powers to appoint junior employees, and when need arises, to remove them.
In Scottsdale, the mayor has the powers to attend and preside over the meetings of the council. He/she has the power to appoint members to represent the council in intergovernmental functions. All the appointments that the mayor makes with the approval of the members of the council committee are considered valid. For ceremonial purposes, the mayor is recognized as the head of the city government. Lastly, the mayor has a duty of governing the city by proclamation during a riot, civil insurrection, dangers involving public, and during a major disaster. Apart from the mayor, the city also has a vice mayor who is chosen from amongst the members of the council. The vice mayor serves in that capacity during the council’s pleasure. The main function of the vice mayor is to officiate the duties of the mayor, when the latter is not around or is unable to discharge his/her duties. The mayor and the members of council are entitled to a monthly salary which cannot be increased by the administrators. The newly elected mayor and the members of the council are always inducted into the office at the beginning of the first meeting of the council’s meeting (Charles et al. 300).
Scottsdale has a city manager who is the chief executive of the city government charged with the responsibility of the administrative branch. The city manager has the duty of ensuring proper administration of the entire affairs of the city unless the charter of the city delegates this duty to another officer. The city manager has the duty of making sure that the provisions of all the leases, contracts, permits that are duly approved are strictly observed. He/she has the power of appointing and removing employees of the city. Further, the city manager prepares annual budget estimates, advises the council, and supervises the purchasing that takes place in every department of the city (Charles et al. 300).
Among the other officials that are responsible for governing Scottsdale and carrying out its planning process is the city clerk whose responsibility is to keep all the official records of the council’s proceedings. There is also the position of the city treasurer who is the chief financial officer of the city council. The treasurer has the responsibility of receiving all the money that belongs to the city, after receiving which his responsibility is to prepare official financial and accounting records. Apart from that, there is the position of the city attorney who is the chief legal advisor to the council and all the offices of the city. The city auditor has the responsibility of conducting financial and performance audit including carrying out investigations concerning the finances of the city. All these officials are responsible for making sure that the city runs its operations smoothly. The members of various city departments and commissions are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council. These city departments receive their titles, qualifications, powers, duties and compensations from the council. It is the responsibility of the council members to create a civil services board which has three qualified candidates who serve on a six-year term. This board has the responsibility to amend and enforce the rules for personal hearings. None of the members of the commission board is allowed to serve for more than the prescribed six-year term (Charles et al. 300).
In conclusion, just like any other city, the city of Scottsdale also operates under a system of government, herein municipal government that consists of a mayor and a council. In the governance of Scottsdale, the council has the bigger responsibility in making sure that the city’s operations are effective and efficient. The council has been given the mandate of appointing the city manager and the vice mayor from among its members. There are different departments within Scottsdale government depending on their functions. Among the officers appointed by the council to run the city’s operations smoothly is the city clerk, treasurer, the auditor including commissions. All these planning measures ensure efficient functioning of administration in the Scottsdale city.
Kaylor, Charles, Randy, Deshazo, and David van Eck. “Gauging e-Government: A Report on Implementing Services Among American Cities.” Government Information Quarterly 18.4 (2012): 293-307.
Saha, Devashree, and Robert G. Paterson. “Local Government Efforts to Promote the “Three Es” of Sustainable Development: Survey in Medium to Large Cities in the United States.” Journal of Planning Education and Research 28.1 (2008): 21-37.