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The City of Morganton operates by the Council-Manager form of government.

Under the Council-Manager form, governance is vested in the City Council, consisting of a Mayor and four Council members elected by the City's voters. The City Council is responsible for adopting ordinances and setting policies that affect the City. To implement its policies and enforce its ordinances, the City Council hires a City Manager, who serves at the pleasure of the Council. The City Manager prepares the City budget, directs day-to-day City operations, and serves as the Council's chief policy adviser.

The Morganton City Council adopted the council-manager form of government in 1913, being the first in practice in the State of North Carolina; and in 1998, named its first female City Manager, Sally Sandy.

Policy formation and legislative authority are vested in the City Council which consists of a Mayor who is elected to a four-year term and four council members who are elected at large to four-year staggered terms.

The City Council meets once a month to conduct City business, enact policies and ordinances, appoint committees, and give direction to the City Manager and staff. The Council hires the City Manager and City Attorney.

The Morganton City Council holds its regular meeting on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 305 East Union Street, Suite A100.

Meetings are open to the public and are interpreted for the hearing impaired. City Council meetings are televised live on Channel 2 on CoMPAS Cable TV and rerun throughout the following two weeks. The agenda for each monthly meeting is posted on this web site shortly before the meeting date.

 

History of Council-Manager Government in Morganton

The City of Morganton was one of the first towns in North Carolina to adopt the council-manager form of government, which has become the most popular form of government in the United States in communities with populations of 5,000 or greater.

Under the council-manager form, governance is vested in the City Council, consisting of a Mayor and four Council members elected by the City's voters. The City Council is responsible for adopting ordinances and setting policies that affect the City. The Council then hires a City Manager to implement Council policies and enforce City ordinances.

The council-manager form of government developed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in an effort to remove the "political machine" from town governance. The City Manager was supposed to remain politically neutral and carry out the Council's policies in an efficient and impartial manner.

On Feb. 24, 1913, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified a new charter for Morganton that instituted the council-manager form of government. On May 12, 1913, the Morganton Town Council hired R.W. Pipkin as the first town manager of Morganton, NC.

Morganton was the second City in North Carolina to hire a town manager. Residents in neighboring Hickory voted to switch to the council-manager form of government on March 17, 2013, and the Hickory City Council hired its first city manager on May 5, 1913, just one week before Morganton.

Today, nearly all cities in North Carolina with a population of more than 10,000 residents use the council-manager form of government, and many smaller towns do as well.