According to the International City/Council Management Association: "More than 120 million people in the USA live in municipalities that operate under the council-manager form. Fifty-four percent of the more than 4,300 US municipalities with populations of 10,000 or more use the form, as do 59% of the 347 municipalities with populations greater than 100,000. More than 800 counties also employ a similar system.” The practice of hiring professional managers became a popular element of reform agendas during the progressive era, over 100 years ago, as a means to stop corruption, favoritism, and nepotism and to promote efficiency within local governments.
In interviews with Mayors of six cities in New York with this form of government, we heard very positive comments about their experiences.
Tompkins County has had a County Administrator form of government since 1970, though they refer to their chief executive as the County Administrator.