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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Modified City Manager-Council Charter

Reference Number: MTAS-332
Reviewed Date: 12/20/2021

The modified city manager-council charter (T.C.A. §§ 6-30-101 et seq.) leaves fewer options in structuring local government than the other two statutory forms.

Seven or more councilmembers are elected from single-member voting precincts for four-year terms. If a city has fewer than seven precincts, the remaining councilmembers are elected at-large. The mayor is elected to a two-year term by his or her fellow councilmembers. The city may ask its legislative delegation to pass a private act allowing all councilmembers to run at-large. For a new city to incorporate under the city manager-council charter, the community must have at least 5,000 residents. There is no explicit provision for existing cities to adopt this form.

The council appoints the city attorney and a city manager. The city judge is elected to a four-year term or an eight-year term if exercising concurrent jurisdiction with general sessions court. All other department heads are appointed by the city manager. The manager serves at the pleasure of the city council. He or she is responsible for purchasing, financial affairs, administration, presenting a proposed budget to the council, and seeing that all city laws and ordinances are enforced. Councilmembers are prohibited from giving orders to the manager’s subordinates. Except for inquiries, they are to deal with administrative officers and city employees solely through the manager.

Unlike the two other statutory charters, the modified city manager-council charter includes a recall provision. T.C.A. § 6-31-301, also see T.C.A. § 2-5-151.