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City Administrator

Location:  City of Ann Arbor, MI Download:  City of Ann Arbor, MI - City Administrator Brochure

City of Ann Arbor, MI - City Administrator

The Community:
Ann Arbor is a city in the state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. Believed to be named for the spouses of the city's founders and for the stands of trees in the area, Ann Arbor is best known as the location of the main campus of the University of Michigan, which moved from Detroit in 1837. Visitors are drawn to Ann Arbor for its eclectic urban setting and acres of parks and trees. This unique contrast offers something for everyone.

The cosmopolitan college town boasts casual to fine dining and world-class shopping in nationally known stores and boutiques with local flair. The city is also known for its political liberalism and its large number of restaurants and performance venues. Action-packed sporting events come courtesy of the University of Michigan - as well as 157 city parks, seven golf courses and endless trails. Cultural experiences, including museums, galleries and performing arts centers, make Ann Arbor a destination for arts aficionados of any age.

A bustling downtown and charming tree-lined neighborhoods make Ann Arbor an ideal place to live, learn, work and raise a family. More than 114,000 residents live within the city's 28 square miles. The City is known for its expansive parks system and commitment to environmentally progressive practices.

Ann Arbor is a hub for excellence in education and boasts five colleges and universities. The city's acclaimed public school system has adapted a comprehensive academic achievement plan to help ensure all students are successful. The University of Michigan is the dominant institution of higher learning in Ann Arbor, providing the city with a distinctly college-town atmosphere. Much of the campus is adjacent to and intermixed with the city's downtown district. Because the campus and the city expanded side-by-side, there is often no firm divide between the two, with university buildings scattered through much of the city center.

The city's economy is currently dominated by education, high tech, and biotechnology. Average home prices and property taxes are well above the state and national medians. Ann Arbor underwent a gradual shift from a manufacturing base to a service and technology base during the 20th century, which accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s. At the same time, the downtown transformed from one dominated by retail establishments dealing in staple goods to one composed mainly of eateries, cafés, bars, clubs, and specialty shops. Over the past several decades, Ann Arbor has increasingly found itself grappling with the effects of sharply rising land values and gentrification, as well as urban sprawl stretching far into the outlying countryside.


  • In June, 2010, Ann Arbor was ranked one of the "Ten Best Cities for Families" according to Parenting magazine.
  • Ann Arbor was named the third Best Midwest Food Town by Midwest Living magazine in 2009, and the third Best Midwest Food Town in Midwest Living's 2010 "Best of the Midwest Issue."
  • Forbes named Ann Arbor the "Best College Sports Town"in 2009 and 2010
  • Ann Arbor was named the "Best Place in Michigan to Raise Your Kids" by Business Week magazine in 2009.
  • Ann Arbor is the third "Best Place to Retire" according to Black Enterprise Magazine
  • named Ann Arbor one if its "Top Five Surprisingly Gay-friendly Small Towns."
  • Ann Arbor was named the "Healthiest Hometown in America " by AARP Magazine in 2008.
  • Money Magazine ranked Ann Arbor #27 on their list of "America's Best Small Cities" in 2008.
  • Ann Arbor was named 1st in the State of Michigan and 16th overall in Forbes 7th annual ranking of "Best Places for Business & Careers " in 2008.
  • US News listed the City of Ann Arbor as one of the top 10 "Brainiest Places to Retire" in 2008.
  • Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association rated Ann Arbor as the third best walking city in America.
  • Popular Science named Ann Arbor one of America's 50 Greenest Cities in 2008.
  • Money magazine ranked Ann Arbor #42 on their "Best Cities to Live and Launch a Business" in 2008.
  • named Ann Arbor 4th "Smartest City in the U.S." in 2008.
  • American Style magazine ranked Ann Arbor "One of the Top 25 Arts Destinations in the U.S." in 2006 and in 2009.

Ann Arbor has a Council-manager form of government. The City Council consists of the Mayor and ten Council members, two from each of Ann Arbor's five wards. One half of City Council is elected in annual partisan elections. Members serve two-year terms.

The Mayor is elected on a partisan ballot every even year. The Mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council and appoints all Council committee members and members of many boards and commissions, with the approval of City Council.

Mission Statement:
The City of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all through the intelligent use of resources while valuing an open environment that fosters fair, sensitive, and respectful treatment of all employees and the community served.

The Way We Work:
The Employees of the City of Ann Arbor...

  • Work and accept responsibility to search for, create and execute new and innovative approaches to improve the performance of City services and objectives
  • Assist external and internal customers to serve their needs and take responsibility for continuously improving customer service
  • Foster meaningful interaction among people through the exchange of information to produce understanding
  • Continuously develop and use effective strategies and interpersonal styles to engage and guide others towards the accomplishment of identified objectives and goals in the best interest of the City and community
  • Consistently work toward the common good of the organization and encourage others to do the same
  • Conduct themselves at all times in a professionally appropriate and respectful manner
  • Apply the proper safety/security practices according to established protocols, guidelines and policies

The Position:
City operations are managed by the City Administrator, who is chosen by the city council.  The City Administrator's Office is responsible for the executive management of the highly diverse operations of the City. The City Administrator provides leadership, vision, and direction to City Service Areas, implements City Council policy, and works with City Council and administrative staff to craft strategic and financial planning objectives.

The City Administrator also serves in a highly visible capacity as an ambassador for the community and to other governmental agencies. Duties include: General Administration; Organizational Development; Community Relations; Intergovernmental Relations; Council Support/Relations; City Budget & Financial Planning; and Human Resources & Labor Relations. 

  • Direct, supervise and coordinate the work of the following Service Areas: Safety Services, Public Services, Community Services and Financial and Administrative Services.
  • Direct and supervise the Communications and City Clerk's Units and Human Resources Services.
  • Direct, supervise and coordinate the work of additional administrative units as the Council may, from time to time, designate.
  • Leads strategic planning, goal setting and policy development in support of the City's Guiding Principles and Goals.
  • Responsible for creating and sustaining the City of Ann Arbor as a results oriented organization through expertise in organizational effectiveness, performance, measurement and budget accountability.
  • Plans, coordinates and administers programs, inter-service area projects, contracts, events and studies.
  • Plans, administers and evaluates management programs and policies related to the City Administrator's office.

Major Duties, Knowledge and Skills:

  • Lead, direct and supervise the City's Service Areas
  • Lead the budget process and assemble the budgets as prepared by the Service Areas and present the same to the Council, with the recommendations, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the City Charter
  • Working with the various Service Area Administrators, establish reporting procedures to ensure timely knowledge of the Service Areas businesses, including periodic or special reports as he/she or the Council may deem necessary
  • In case of conflict of authority between administrative units, or in case of absence of administrative authority occasioned by inadequacy of Charter or ordinance provisions, resolve the conflict or supply the necessary authority, so far as may be consistent with law, the Charter, and the ordinances of the City, and direct the necessary action to be taken, making a full report immediately to the Council of the problem, action taken and recommendation for corrective legislation
  • Attend all meetings of the Council, with the right to take part in all discussions, but without the right to vote
  • Recommend to the Council, from time to time, such measures as he/she deems necessary or appropriate for the improvement of the City or its services
  • Furnish the Council with information respecting the City's affairs and prepare and submit such reports as may be required, including an annual report which shall consolidate the reports of the several administrative units
  • Possess such further powers and perform such additional duties as may be granted to or required of him/her, from time to time, by the Council, so far as may be consistent with state law and the Charter
  • Serves on the Downtown Development Authority and City's Pension Boards

Related Work

  • Oversees various studies and analyses; coordinates and assembles the findings and recommendations of the Service Area Administrators related to various systems, programs, procedures and administrative practices.
  • Provides leadership on issues of organizational culture, communication and community relations. Collaborates with Human Resources Services to determine leadership development needs and to design and sponsor leadership development programming for the City
  • Performs other duties as assigned

Knowledge of:

  • Functions of City Council and City government and associated Boards and Commissions
  • Public Sector collective bargaining environments
  • Multi-cultural environments where issues are openly debated
  • Principles and best practices of financial management, municipal organizations and public administration, leadership development, executive coaching and change management
  • Principles and techniques of public relations
  • Outstanding customer service principles and practices
  • Development and administration of budgets
  • Contemporary management principles and supervisory practices
  • Pertinent City, County, State and Federal laws, regulations and ordinances

The Ideal Candidate:

  • Extensive experience in public sector management, preferably as a City Administrator, City Manager, or County Administrator in an urban setting which has a wide diversity of cultural, political, and service issues
  • Experience must include direct responsibility for management and supervision of a large multi-service organization with full responsibility for development and administration of the budget
  • Experience with a major university, and prior experience with developing positive working relationships with senior university administration personnel would be a definite asset
  • Previous experience as City Administrator or City Manager in a city with a population of over 50,000 or as County Administrator in an urban county which has required strong financial management skills would be ideal
  • Experience must include extensive successful involvement in an aggressive collective bargaining environment
  • Candidate must have experience in a multi-cultural environment where issues are openly debated. A background that includes serving in positions that required active community contact and open communications between citizens, council, and staff is necessary


Interested candidates should possess a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university in Public or Business Administration or related field; a Master's degree is preferred.

The City of Ann Arbor is offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package. Relocation assistance will be available for the successful out of area candidate.

How to Apply:
Interested applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: AACA

Affion Public
20 North 2nd Street, Suite 200
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Fax: 717-214-2205

Deadline to receive resumes: June 20, 2011

Posted: 03/22/2022