Effective communication between a City Manager and City Council is essential for the smooth operation of local government and the achievement of shared goals. To foster transparency, collaboration, and alignment, consider implementing these seven steps to enhance communication with your City Council.


  1. Regular Reporting (Weekly or Monthly Reports):

Consistent reporting is a cornerstone of transparent communication. Provide City Council with regular updates through weekly or monthly reports. These reports should cover key activities, milestones, and challenges, offering a comprehensive overview of ongoing initiatives.


  1. Project Updates:

Projects are a significant part of any city’s agenda. Keep City Council informed about project progress, timelines, and any issues that may arise. Visual aids, such as project timelines and Gantt charts, can help convey complex information more effectively.


  1. Financial Reports:

Transparency in financial matters is critical. Present financial reports regularly, detailing budget allocations, expenditures, and revenue. Clear financial reporting ensures that City Council is well-informed about the city’s financial health and can make informed decisions.


  1. Council Agenda:

Provide City Council members with a detailed agenda before meetings. Ensure that each item on the agenda includes background information, objectives, and any necessary documentation. This allows Council members to prepare thoroughly and contribute meaningfully to discussions.


  1. Council Run-Through Meetings:

Prior to official Council meetings, consider holding run-through meetings with Council members. These sessions can serve as an opportunity to discuss agenda items, address questions, and clarify any concerns. It enhances Council members’ understanding of the issues at hand and promotes smoother decision-making during formal meetings.


  1. Regular Check-Ins (More Casual):

In addition to formal reporting and meetings, establish a more casual line of communication with City Council. Regular check-ins, whether in person, via email, or phone calls, can provide an avenue for informal discussions and the exchange of ideas. This approach fosters a deeper, more collaborative relationship.


  1. Performance Review (Twice Annually):

Biannual performance reviews offer a structured opportunity to assess the progress of City Council’s priorities and evaluate your performance as City Manager. These reviews should be comprehensive, addressing both successes and challenges. Discuss goals, strategies, and areas for improvement to ensure alignment with Council’s expectations.



Effective communication between a City Manager and City Council is pivotal for efficient governance. By implementing these seven steps—regular reporting, project updates, financial reports, comprehensive agendas, Council run-through meetings, regular check-ins, and performance reviews—you can strengthen transparency, collaboration, and understanding between your administration and the City Council. Building a strong and communicative partnership enhances the likelihood of achieving shared goals and serving your community effectively.

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