ABSTRACT

Broadly speaking, local governments perform two functions: they implement policy, that is, they administer laws and programs enacted by local, state, and federal legislatures and they develop policy, a process involving legislative enactment, oversight, and reform. The obvious structure that matches its function is a strong executive branch, capable of flexible day-to-day administration and an equally powerful legislative branch to both set policy and oversee executive performance, with the two branches operating under rules that provide checks and balances.