The Shire developed from the village of Cooma, which was first surveyed in March 1849. It also includes the small towns of Nimmitabel, Numeralla, Bredbo and Michelago. Other populated areas include the villages and surrounding districts of Shannons Flat, Yaouk, Peak View, Countegany, Jerangle and Rock Flat.
Cooma-Monaro Shire Council is composed of nine Councillors elected proportionally as one entire ward. All Councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012, and the makeup of the Council is as follows: