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For Elected Officials


For Elected Officials

Being an elected official in local government is not an easy task. You are confronted with challenging issues and circumstances, often with limited resources to address them. Establishing and maintaining an effective working relationship with your manager/administrator and staff is critical to your mutual success and the success of your community. An effective working relationship between local elected officials and with the organization’s chief executive is fundamental to the success of the organization. The resources below aim to help local elected officials enhance their ability to work collaboratively with their peers and their administrative staff.


Effective Governance

California’s cities, counties and special districts need the best of leadership and management to effectively govern. When elected officials and top management professionals partner and govern efficiently, the municipal agencies can more effectively serve their constituencies.


Making Decisions

Decision-making in the public sector is a much different process than what they are used to in the private or nonprofit sector.


Responsibilities and Powers

This section of resources is devoted to informing newly elected and appointed officials, staff, public and media about the roles, responsibilities and powers of local agencies. Topics include the authorities and limitations of local agencies, sources of law and descriptions of individual agency functions as defined by statutes and charters.


Working with Staff

An agency’s professional staff will be an important source of information for newly-elected officials. If your agency does not have an orientation for newly elected officials, make an appointment to get acquainted.

Some questions to ask include:

  • What issues does the agency executive see as most pressing?
  • What process does the agency use for developing and approving its budget? What are the key budgetary challenges?
  • What is the status of long-range plans and capital projects?
  • Are there other key staff members with whom the official should meet and be briefed by, based on their particular interests?

Media Relations

Working with the media, elected officials have an opportunity to communicate key messages and information to the public a local agency serves.


Leadership Resources for Local Officials

Being a leader, particularly in local government, isn’t easy. Institute for Local Government makes a priority of making resources available to local leaders to help them in their service to their communities.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.–Peter Drucker


When Bad Things Happen

Despite best efforts, unfortunate things happen. The resources below offer thoughts on how to respond. 

Additional suggestions for resources welcome. Contact ILG.


Personnel and Labor

Materials presented here provide local agency officials and staff with information about public agency personnel and labor-related matters.

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