Murfreesboro FAQ: How Murfreesboro's City-Manager model of organization works

Jan 30, 2020 at 11:47 am by Michelle Willard

Murfreesboro's City-Manager model

Murfreesboro follows the city-manager model of municipal government.

In this model of municipal government, a city manager serves as the principal executive and administrative officer of a city, instead of a full-time mayor. Under such a form the voters elect only the city council, which appoints a city manager to administer municipal affairs under its supervision.

The city-manager model was first implemented in the United States. Devised by the National Short Ballot Organization, it was intended to improve local and state government by reducing the number of elected officials. In 1913 Dayton, Ohio, was the first large city to adopt the plan.

Some arguments for the city-manager model are:

• Results in a shorter ballot by reducing the number of elected officials.
• Centralizes administrative responsibilities.
• Reduces the number of patronage jobs.
• Gives oversight of the city manager to the city council.

Some criticisms are:

• The city manager usually comes from outside the city and is unfamiliar with the problems of the city.
• Places too much power in the hands of one person.
• The city manager is not responsible to the voters.
• It promotes a middle-class orientation to efficiency rather than to need.

About Murfreesboro's City Manager

Murfreesboro adopted the city-manager model in 1921. Since then seven men have served as the city's chief executive:

Craig Tindall (2018-present)
Rob Lyons (2009-2017)
Roger Haley (1988-2009
Clyde Fite (1963-1988)
Col. Hubert L. McCullough (1946-1963)
Sam Cox (1927-1946)
RE Lowe (1921-1927)

Under Tindall, the administrative branch was restructured from one city manager and two assistant city managers who oversaw 24 departments. Now the 24 City departments report to seven division executive directors, including the police and fire chiefs.

The new structure shifts authority over operating decisions closer to operations and enhances cost efficiency with the goal of achieving excellent customer service. The new division heads, along with economic development and budget administration, will report directly to Tindall.

The new divisions are:

Development Services Division with the mission of enhancing the City’s economic development. Sam Huddleston was named executive director of the division.

Public Works Division, launched in early August and headed by Chris Griffith, focuses on coordination, cooperation, and oversight of infrastructure engineering, the development and maintenance of streets and other municipal projects.

Utility Enterprises Division, launched in mid-August and led by Darren Gore, incorporates existing enterprise funds—Water Resources and Electric, as well as departments that will in short order operate as self-sufficient enterprise funds—Solid Waste, and Municipal Airport.

Community Services Division, announced in late August headed by Angela Jackson, incorporates the Parks and Recreation Department, Golf Department, Senior Center, Outside Agencies and the development of the City’s arts and cultural activities. In addition to overseeing the City recreational facilities and cultural programs, Community Services will organize budgetary allocation of funds to outside agencies by creating an application process, establishing objectives and performance measurements, and reporting to Council how grants are benefiting the community.

Internal Services Division, incorporates Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications, Purchasing, Fleet Services, and Facilities Management under the direction of Executive Director Paul Boyer.



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