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Become A City Manager

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Working As A City Manager

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $82,000

    Average Salary

What Does A City Manager Do

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Duties

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the private sector:

Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, managing director, or president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate and implement policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.

Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.

General and operations managers oversee operations that are too diverse and general to be classified into one area of management or administration. Responsibilities may include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. They make staff schedules, assign work, and ensure that projects are completed. In some organizations, the tasks of chief executive officers may overlap with those of general and operations managers.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the public sector:

Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are chief executive officers of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and the use of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, whereas managers and administrators are typically appointed. 

Most educational systems, regardless of whether they are public or private school systems, also employ executive officers. The following are examples of top executives working in the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational school systems:

School superintendents and college or university presidents are chief executive officers of school districts and postsecondary schools. They manage issues such as student achievement, budgets and resources, general operations, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.

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How To Become A City Manager

Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience. 

Education

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives who are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company. For example, in industries such as retail trade or transportation, workers without a college degree may work their way up to higher levels within the company to become executives or general managers.

Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience. Executives are also expected to have experience in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower level supervisory or management experience in a related field.

Some general managers advance to higher level managerial or executive positions. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.

Decisionmaking skills. Top executives need decisionmaking skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.

Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.

Management skills. Top executives must shape and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.

Problem-solving skills. Top executives need to identify and resolve issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.

Time-management skills. Top executives do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

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City Manager Demographics

Gender

Male

63.1%

Female

28.9%

Unknown

7.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.0%

German

5.0%

Russian

5.0%

Italian

5.0%

Marshallese

2.5%

Chinese

2.5%

Hawaiian

2.5%

Japanese

2.5%

Hebrew

2.5%

Dakota

2.5%

Korean

2.5%

Mandarin

2.5%
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City Manager Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.1%

Western Michigan University

8.2%

Arizona State University

7.1%

Florida International University

6.5%

University of Kansas

6.0%

University of Oklahoma

5.4%

University of North Texas

4.9%

Appalachian State University

4.3%

Texas State University

4.3%

University of Florida

4.3%

Colorado State University

4.3%

Georgia State University

3.8%

Northern Illinois University

3.8%

Oklahoma State University

3.8%

University of Southern California

3.3%

San Jose State University

3.3%

Johnson & Wales University

3.3%

University of Central Florida

3.3%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.3%

Syracuse University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

34.4%

Public Administration

15.5%

Management

6.6%

Political Science

5.6%

Accounting

4.2%

Communication

3.7%

Marketing

3.3%

Education

2.8%

Psychology

2.7%

Finance

2.7%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Public Relations

1.9%

Law

1.8%

Computer Science

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Economics

1.6%

English

1.6%

Kinesiology

1.5%

General Studies

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.9%

Masters

27.7%

Other

22.0%

Associate

6.8%

Certificate

3.6%

Doctorate

2.9%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$82,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Median 50%
$173,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
J. C. Penney
Highest Paying City
Dodge City, KS
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a City Manager make at top companies?
The national average salary for a City Manager in the United States is $82,575 per year or $40 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $173,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a City Manager?

Have you worked as a City Manager? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a City Manager.

Top Skills for A City Manager

  1. Customer Service
  2. Public Safety
  3. Ensure Compliance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised a staff of four distribution drivers - sales/marketing team consisting of 35 customer service representatives.
  • Worked collaboratively with Public Safety Unions/Pension Boards to renegotiate union contracts to reduce unsustainable nature of current and future public pensions.
  • Conducted audits to ensure compliance and provided detailed reports to all levels of management.
  • Guided organization to outsourcing of various functions including payroll saving an estimated 1MM.
  • Adhered to company policies and procedures and safety rules for the safety of the trees, employees and the public.

How Would You Rate Working As a City Manager?

Are you working as a City Manager? Help us rate City Manager as a Career.

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