The City Manager serves as the City's Chief Administrator and is responsible to the City Commission for the proper administration of all affairs of the city except for responsibilities authorized by the City Auditor & Clerk, and City Attorney, by the City Charter.
Sarasota is governed by a commission-manager form of government. The City Manager, who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the elected five-member City Commission, serves as the City's Chief Administrative Officer.
Sarasotans approved the commission-manager form of government 1,499 to 405 at a special election held on November 5, 1945.
Upon the conclusion of World War II, it became clear that Sarasota was on the verge of growing like it never had before. Sarasotans decided a new form of city government was needed to prevent repetition of the growing pains of the 1920's real estate boom. Following adoption of the new form, Colonel Ross E. Windom, who had served in the U.S. army Corps of Engineers during the war and city manager of cities in Ohio before the war, was appointed Sarasota's first City Manager.
The City Manager directs and manages the functions of the City. Leadership is provided by facilitating, directing, planning, coordinating, and supervising the programs and services of the City. The City Manager is ultimately responsible to the City Commission and the public for all actions of the City of Sarasota.
The City Manager prepares an annual budget for the City Commission and develops policy for the City Commission's consideration. Implementation and management of all policy decisions of the Commission is also a key responsibility. Major emphasis is placed upon the annual goal setting that the City Manager conducts with the City Commission, which drives both the budget process and staff's projects and priorities for the following year.
Organizationally, the City Manager supervises the Directors who oversee the Police Department, Finance, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Public Works, Utilities, Human Resources, Planning, Development Services and Information Technology.
The City Manager is supported by the Deputy City Manager and the Assistant City Manager with oversight of these departments.
Staff assistance within the City Manager's office is provided by the Executive Assistant who works with the City Manager, Deputy City Manager and Assistant City Manager.