Decatur has operated under a Commission-Manager form of government since 1920. The Charter of the City of Decatur establishes the City Commission as the governing and legislative authority of the City government.

Commission-Manager Form of Government

Under this system of local government, the elected officials are the community leaders and policy makers who establish a vision for their city, town, or county, and who hire the Manager to carry out policy and ensure that all residents are being equitably served. The Manager coordinates the work of department heads and other employees, who help ensure the smooth and efficient delivery of services. The Manager is responsible for preparing the budget, directing day-to-day operations, hiring and firing personnel, and serving as the Commission's chief policy advisor.

City Departments

City services are provided by the General Government Department under the direction of the City Manager, through operating departments established by the City Commission. The City Manager appoints department heads subject to confirmation by the City Commission and appoints all other City employees in accordance with established personnel policies. The General Government Department provides staff support for the City Commission, general management services, operations management services, and personnel management services. Employees of this department also serve as the central staff to respond to service requests, information requests and complaints.

The primary goals of the General Government Department are to:

• Ensure that policies established by the City Commission are carried out effectively.
• Ensure that all City departments provide the best possible services at the least possible cost.
• Preserve and enhance the City's residential neighborhoods.
• Promote the economic vitality of the City's commercial areas.
• Provide timely and accurate assistance to citizen requests and concerns.

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