The council-manager form of local government combines political leadership of elected officials with the managerial experience of a professional city manager. Chesapeake has eight council members and a mayor elected at large, which means that members represent the entire city rather than specific districts.
The City Council is Chesapeake's legislative body. It sets policy, approves the budget, and sets the tax rate. Members also hire the City Manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the city, and who also serves as the Council's chief advisor. The City Manager prepares a recommended budget, recruits and hires most of the government's staff, and carries out the council's policies. While the City Manager may recommend policy decisions, he or she is bound by the action of the Council. The Council appoints four additional staff members: the City Attorney, City Clerk, Real Estate Assessor, and the City Auditor.
Citizen participation in this type of government is very important and is achieved through various methods, including the election process, serving on one of many advisory boards and commissions, speaking at council meetings and other public hearings, and personal interaction with council members and other city officials. Their names and phone numbers are available on this site.