City administrators have many different tasks. They establish policies
for the city and its employees. They develop guidelines to keep the city running
smoothly. They also provide support and guidance to council.
The city administrator can also be called the chief administrative officer
(CAO), city manager or administrative service manager. Despite the various
names, they all do the same things.
The mayor appoints the city administrator. They report to the mayor and
the city council and have an office at City Hall. But sometimes, city administrators
need to go on the road to supervise various projects.
The normal workweek is 40 hours. However, administrators must attend evening
meetings and social functions.
They also participate in seminars and conferences. "City administrators
need to pool their resources together. They share and learn from each other,"
says Dave Morris. He is the executive director of a city administrators' association.
"Having one city administrator per city, this makes for a lonely type of
work," Morris adds. "Although you are surrounded by people, no one else has
the same functions and responsibilities as you."
The most common work-related illness is fatigue from doing too much. Stress
management is more than an asset -- it's a must!
"I need to be ready in cases of emergency," says city administrator Judy
Rogers. "What if a strike was declared? Or a water pipe broke? How efficiently
the city responds with crews, materials and reinforcements will depend on
how quickly things are set up and ready to go."
"They are all dedicated people who hold the city within their hands," says
There are no major physical requirements for this job. But you may need
to move around the city you manage quite a bit. This may be somewhat problematic
for people with physical mobility challenges.