Who is the City Manager?
The City of Cambridge is run by a Council-Manager form of government as detailed by its Plan E charter. The Plan E Charter method of government specifies that there is a City Council with 9 members, including a Mayor, and the City Council hires a City Manager. Under Plan E, the Mayor and Vice Mayor are elected by their City Council colleagues, not directly elected by the residents.
The City Council makes policy, and approves the City budget. The City Council is also responsible for hiring a City Manager with the expertise to oversee and direct the day-to-day activities of the City including Finance, Public Safety, Human Services, Community Development, Traffic and Parking, Public Works, and more. The City Manager provides leadership on all of the City’s strategic initiatives including equity and inclusion, economic development, redevelopment, and organizational improvement. Our current City Manager, Louis A. DePasquale, has been in this position since 2016 and prior to that worked as the Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs under the two previous City Managers, Richard Rossi and Robert Healy.
City Manager Roles & Responsibilities
Under broad policy guidance of the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager is responsible for providing leadership to and administration of all City departments and services. These departments operate within six broad functional areas including Intergovernmental, Human Resource and Development, General Government Public Safety, Community Maintenance and Development and Education.
The City Manager is in charge of virtually all City employees and appoints citizens to volunteer committees, City boards and commissions. The City Manager serves as a liaison and financial officer to the City schools (Elementary, Upper and High Schools are a department of the City, however, they are overseen by an elected School Committee and appointed superintendent).
Annual Operating Budget:
A key responsibility of the City Manager is oversight and preparation of the Annual Operating and Capital Budget. Each year the City budget proposes how the City will spend its funds (in alignment with City Council goals), a breakdown of expenditures by department, and a report on City revenues for the preceding year.
The City Manager also has executive power in provision of all City services including how the City responds to crisis events, public health emergencies and climate vulnerability. By working closely with the City Council, the City Manager manages and directs the overall administrative activities and operations of the city.
The City Manager and City Council work together to respond to resident concerns, and the City of Cambridge administers a bi-annual Resident Survey which gathers information on residents' top concerns. The results of the 2020 annual survey are linked here. In 2020, Affordable housing, the COVID19 pandemic, education, economy, and the environment ranked highest as the “single most important issue facing the City of Cambridge today - the one that affects you and your family the most?”