How could we argue that a council-manager form of city government is better than a commission form?
The main way in which we can make this argument is by saying that a council-manager form of government is more likely to be efficient and competent.
In a commission form of government, each member of the city council acts as something of an executive. Each council member is in charge of one or more governmental departments in the city. There is no chief executive in this form of government.
In a council-manager form, there is a chief executive. This is the city manager. This person is hired based on his or her expertise. The manager is responsible for running all aspects of the city’s executive branch.
A council-manager form of government is much more likely to be efficient. There is one person to whom all city workers eventually answer. This means that control of the government is centralized. By contrast, there is no central control in a commission system.
A council-manager form of government is also more likely to have competent leadership. Being elected to city council does not make a person qualified to run executive departments as council members must in a commission form. By contrast, city managers are hired specifically because they are good administrators.
In these ways, council-manager systems have more competent leaders and a more efficient executive branch.