Mayor's Corner


John "Mike" Henry, Mayor 

Former Mayors

State of the City Address - December 16, 2014 (Former Mayor Donald Monty)

Audio Recordings of Council Meetings and State of the City Address

From the Mayor

City Officials and Staff Extend a Warm Welcome to New Students and Residents

Welcome all new residents and students to Carbondale. Carbondale offers the luxuries people expect in a large city while maintaining the comforts and charm of a small town.

In Carbondale you will find abun­dant housing options for students through retirement living, state of the art medical, technical and profes­sional services and facilities, excellent schools and churches, and outstand­ing social and cultural activities sponsored by the community and University. The City has an expansive retail district, more than 100 restau­rant options, unique specialty shops in a historic Downtown District, as well as attractive parks and recre­ational facilities, all nestled amid the natural beauty of Southern Illinois.

We invite you to get acquainted with your City and all of the services available to you as residents of Car­bondale. Through this newsletter, City staff are dedicated to providing municipal news to residents of the community. In every issue you will find information on services avail­able, as well as announcements and upcoming events. We also encour­age you to visit the Carbondale Web site for news and information pertaining to all areas of City government, as well as links to area organizations and the abundant resources available in Southern Illinois.

From the governmental perspec­tive, Carbondale strives to have an open platform for its citizenry, where the voices of all residents are heard and respected. Regular City Council meetings are held on the lst and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center at 200 South Illi­nois Avenue. The meetings are also televised live on the City’s govern­mental cable channel CityVision 16, which may be found on Mediacom Channel 16 and streamed live on the Web site. City Council recordings are also available on the City’s Web site.

In this issue I address information about the City Manager form of gov­ernment in Carbondale. The Coun­cil-Manager form of government has been adopted in thousands of cities across the United States since the 1920’s. It is most popular in cities with populations of 20,000 or more.

This form of government is generally implemented as a way to remove politics from city government. The Manager refrains from any political activities related to the municipali­ty. The Mayor and Council members respect the City Manager as being solely responsible for the adminis­tration of the day-to-day operations of the city without interference from the Council Members, bringing pro­fessionalism and efficiency to those operations. The City of Carbondale adopted the Council-Manager form in 1966.

How does council-manager gov­ernment work?

The City Council members repre­sent their community and develop a long-range vision for its future. They establish policies that affect the over­all operation of the community and are responsive to residents’ needs and wishes. To ensure that these pol­icies are carried out and that the entire community is equitably served, the governing body appoints a high­ly trained professional manager on the basis of his/her education, experi­ence, skills, and abilities (and not their political allegiances). If the manager is not responsive to the governing body, it has the authority to terminate the manager at any time.

How can council-manager govern­ment benefit my community?

A community benefits from the council-manager form in a number of important ways:

  • Political power is concentrated in the entire governing body. The mayor and council share legislative functions.
  • Policy making resides with elect­ed officials, while oversight of the day-to-day operations of the com­munity resides with the manager. In this way, the elected officials are free to devote time to policy planning and development.
  • The manager carries out the poli­cies established by the elected gov­erning body with an emphasis on effective, efficient, and equitable ser­vice delivery.
  • Because decisions on policy and the future of the community are made by the entire governing body rather than a single individual, coun­cil-manager governments more often engage and involve their residents in decision making. Residents guide their community by serving on boards and commissions, participating in visioning and strategic planning, and designing community-oriented local government services.
  • The form is flexible enough to adapt to local needs and demands. For example, some communities elect their councils at large, while others elect them by district or by a combi­nation of an at-large-and-by-district system. Also, the mayor can be direct­ly elected by voters or selected by and from the elected council. In Car­bondale, the City Council and Mayor are elected at large and serve 4-year, overlapping terms.

What is the role of the manager under council-manager government?

The manager is hired to serve the council and the community and brings to the local government the benefits of his/her training and expe­rience in administering municipal projects and programs.

The manager supervises and coor­dinates the departments, appoints and removes their directors, recruits, hires, terminates, and supervises city staff; prepares a budget for the coun­cil’s consideration; serves as the coun­cil’s chief advisor; and carries out the council’s policies. Council members and residents count on the manager to provide complete and objective information about local operations, discuss the pros and cons of alter­natives, and offer an assessment of the long-term consequences of their decisions. Appointed managers serve at the pleasure of the governing body. They can be terminated by a majority of the council, consistent with local laws, or any employment agreements they may enter into with the council. The manager makes pol­icy recommendations to the council for consideration and final decision. The manager is bound by whatever action the council takes, and control is always in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.

What is the role of the council?

The council is the community’s legislative and policymaking body. Power is centralized in the elected council, which, for example, approves the budget and determines the tax rate. The council also focuses on the community’s goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use devel­opment, capital improvement and financing, and strategic planning.

What is the role of the mayor?

The mayor is the ceremonial head of the municipality, presides over council meetings, and appoints mem­bers of citizen advisory boards and commissions (with the advice and consent of council). A mayor is a key political and policy leader, represents the city in intergovernmental rela­tionships, facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, and assists the council in setting goals and advo­cating policy decisions. In Carbon­dale, the mayor is also voting member of the city council.

What value does a professional man­ager contribute to a community?

Professional managers contribute value to a community because they:

  • Work in partnership with elected officials to develop sound approach­es to community challenges by bring­ing together resources to make the right things happen and produce results that matter.
  • Bring a community-wide perspec­tive to policy discussions and strive to connect the past and future while focusing on the present. They help the governing body develop the long-term vision for the community that provides a framework for policy development and goal setting.
  • Promote ethical government through commitment to a set of ethi­cal standards that goes beyond those required by law. Managers who are members of the International City/ County Managers Association, sub­scribe to a Code of Ethics, which requires them to “affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant”.
  • Encourage inclusion and build consensus among diverse interests (including those of elected officials, the business community, and citi­zens) by focusing on the entire com­munity rather than the centralized interests of one or two individuals.
  • Promote equity and fairness by ensuring that services are fairly distrib­uted and that administrative decisions (such as hiring and contracting) are based on merit rather than favoritism.
  • Develop and sustain organization­al excellence and promote innovation. Professional managers focus on effi­cient and equitable service delivery, policy implementation, and evalua­tion. They align the local government’s administrative systems with the values, mission, and policy goals defined by the community and elected officials.


The Council-Manager form of gov­ernment relies on each party under­standing their roles and respecting the authority of the other. There is an implied level of trust between the par­ties and in the information presented to the Council by the manager and staff. The day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the City Manag­er and their staff. Department heads are highly trained professionals with years of expertise. They are obligated to adhere to professional standards, ethical and legal judgments and to explore all options in any given situ­ation. They are bound to provide the Council with options and alternatives and to offer a recommended course of action when matters of policy are being discussed and changed.

The Mayor, City Council and City staff are here to serve you and look forward to making your acquaintance. For information about all of the ser­vices available to you through the City of Carbondale, contact the Carbondale City Hall at 549-5302 or stop by and visit us at 200 South Illinois Avenue.

John “Mike” Henry
City of Carbondale
(618) 457-3229

Photo Gallery

Quick Facts

  • The Mayor is the official head of the City, presides at all meetings of the City Council, and is empowered to declare civil emergencies during which time he may take any steps necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and the community.
  • By virtue of his office, the Mayor serves as Chairman of the Local Liquor Control Commission, is a board member of the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (regional drug task force), and appoints all members of City boards, commissions and committees.
  • There are no term limits for individuals serving in elected office in Carbondale. The Mayor and all City Council members are elected at-large (community-wide) and serve staggered, four-year terms of office.

© Copyright 2015 Carbondale, Illinois. All rights reserved. Sitemap

Show Menu
Hide Menu