Model City Charter—9th Edition: Letter from the Co-Chairs

November 2021

Letter from our Co-Chairs:

The Model City Charter was first introduced to the public in 1900, a time of sweeping social and political reforms. The early versions of the model focused on addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing those growing cities—structural inefficiency, political corruption and the need for a merit system for public employees.

Given the challenges facing our communities in 2021, it is only fitting that this revised and updated edition of the Model City Charter addresses the need for heightened attention to the role of public engagement in local governance and the need to improve equity.

One of the results of the model-makers’ early focus on professionalism and integrity is the relatively high trust levels among the public for local government in comparison to federal and state governments, as well as many other institutions. Part of this trust at the local level is due to the great work by city and county officials to engage the public and improve equity.

The Model City Charter has been used by cities and towns for over 120 years to structure their municipal governments and draft or revise their charters. With the last major revision occurring in 2000, we were honored to lead a year-long process involving dozens of thought-leaders and organization representatives to update the document and emphasize key principles, such as equity and civic engagement.

The new Model continues to advocate professional, nonpartisan city governance, with mayors and legislative bodies that work together with a manager to run city departments and solve public problems. While not all activities need to become part of the charter, we make a strong case that cities and towns need to structure all of their activities to reflect social equity and civic engagement, involving all the members of their community in civic affairs.

Please join us in the coming years in revisiting your charters to ensure that they reflect the values that we hold dear, that inclusive local governance involving everyone in our communities working together in a civil, pragmatic manner, can help our cities and towns thrive and contribute to addressing not only local matters but also the challenges that face our nation.


Clarence Anthony, CEO & Executive Director,
National League of Cities
Marc A. Ott, CEO/Executive Director,
International City/County Management Association
Ronald Loveridge, National Civic League
Former Mayor, City of Riverside, California
Kendra Stewart, Past President, Board Member,
American Society for Public Administration


Return to Model City Charter—9th Edition: Table of Contents

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