Council-Manager Form of Government

At the January 2023 regular meeting, the Town Council voted to move forward with approval of an ordinance amending the town charter to change the form of government to a Council-Manager form. On February 13, the town received a referendum petition to submit the charter amendment to a vote in the November 2023 municipal election. Below please find answers to the most frequently asked questions. If there is a question not listed below, please don't hesitate to reach out to your Councilmembers.

Q: What is a Charter? Are changes permanent?

A: Town Charters set up the basic functions and services of the municipality when they initially incorporate as a community. This includes the number of elected officials and their terms; partisan or nonpartisan elections; districts or at large elected officials; the structure of how the organization functions; etc. Changes are intended to be permanent or used until their intended use no longer serves purpose. Charters can be changed within two years after the beginning of the term of the officers elected.


Q: Will changing the form of government from mayor-council to council-manager mean there will no longer be a mayor elected in Weddington?

A: No. There is NO change to the elected positions. Weddington registered voters will continue to elect a Mayor and 4 Councilmembers.


Q: Why change the Charter now?

A: When Weddington was incorporated in 1983, there were 453 residents; now, there are almost 14,000 residents. The current Charter has not been reviewed since our inception. The Council believes in taking a proactive approach as we prepare for the future and continued growth. This will help promote greater effectiveness and efficiencies for the Town of Weddington.

Did you know that according to the 2020 Census, Weddington has grown 39.3% since 2010 (and that does not include new residents since 2020)!


Q: How long has the current board been reviewing the Charter?  

A: The Mayor and Council began reviewing and discussing the current Charter in April 2022. They have had several professionals from the UNC School of Government and the North Carolina League of Municipalities come and discuss the process, pros & cons, and hold a question and answer session with the council and residents at public meetings.


Q: What is the Council-Manager form of government?

A: The council-manager form is the most popular structure of government in the U.S. among municipalities with populations of 2,500 of more. It is one of several ways in which U.S. municipalities and counties can organize.

Under this form, residents elect a governing body-including a mayor and council, to adopt legislation and set policy. The governing body hires a manager with broad executive administrative authority to carry out those policies set by the elected body and oversee the local government’s day-to-day operations.


Q: What is so special about the council-manager form of government?

A: Born out of the U.S. reform movement at the turn of the 20th century, the council-manager form was created to combat corruption and unethical activity within local government by prompting nonpolitical management that is effective, transparent, responsive, and accountable.


Q: How are the duties of the Manager determined?

A: State Statute 160A-148 - Powers and Duties of the Manager dictates the responsibilities of the Town Manager. A manager's personnel powers exist by statute, and the council cannot take them away.


Q: How can Council-Manager government benefit my community?

  • Flexibility – The council-manager form can adapt to local needs and demands.
  • Clearly Defined Roles – There is a clear distinction between the administrative role of the manager and the political and policy roles of the governing body, led by the mayor. The day-to-day operations of the local government reside with the appointed manager, allowing elected officials to devote their time and energy to policy development and the assessment of the effectiveness of those policies within the community.
  • A Roadmap for Success – The council-manager form is the system of local government under which professional management is most likely to succeed. Professional managers can focus on service delivery, policy implementation, and performance management and can align the local services with the values, mission, and policy goals defined by the community and elected officials.


Q: Is the Town of Weddington planning on adding additional personnel with this change?

A: NO. This is an internal organizational change. No additional staff is planned.


Q: Will this change cost the Town of Weddington more money?

A: NO. At this time, the Manager’s salary will not be changed.


Q: How many towns our size in North Carolina have the Council-Mayor form that we are currently under?

A: None – Weddington is the only municipality in NC with over 10,000 residents to not be operating under this form.


Q: Will the residents see a difference in the way the Town is being managed?

A: No. The day-to-day resident interaction will not change. The changes will happen internally. Those affected will only be the Town Staff.


Q: Will the Manager be able to approve development applications, change zoning, or make any Land Use decisions? 

A: Absolutely not! All Land Use decisions (applications, zoning, etc.) MUST go through the UDO Process outlined in the Town Ordinances. There is NO change.