Council Manager (Ireland)
In local government in the Republic of Ireland, the County or City Manager is the chief executive of the local authority of a county or city. Whereas the county council and city council are elected officials who formulate policy, the manager is an appointed official who manages the implementation of policy. Their salaries range from €132,511 to €189,301 per annum. The County and City Managers' Association is the professional association for County Managers and it is affiliated to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
Following the turmoil of the Irish War of Independence 1919–1921, and the Irish Civil War 1921–1923, the Irish government found it necessary to remove the members of several local authorities and replace them temporarily by paid commissioners.
Both Dublin and Cork city councils were so removed. In both cities, there was a body of opinion that the services provided by the councils were delivered more efficiently and fairly under the commissioners than under the previous system, where the executive function had been, in effect, vested in the councils and their committees.
In 1926, a committee of commercial and industrial interests in Cork came together to consider a scheme of city government. Having regard to the city's experience of commissioners and recent experience in the United States a council–manager plan of city government was proposed.
After discussion between the minister for local government and local representatives, the minister, Richard Mulcahy, introduced as a government measure, The Cork City Management Bill, 1929, and it became law despite opposition. The minister proposed and the Oireachtas enacted similar provision for Dublin City in 1930. Similar laws were passed for Limerick in 1934 and Waterford in 1939 under the Fianna Fáil government.
Under the County (Management) Act, 1940, which was brought into operation in August 1942, a county manager is the manager of every borough or town in that county, but since the 1990s, has the power to delegate these functions to any other officer of that borough or town council. Initially, some smaller counties shared a manager. On several occasions, the Minister for the Environment has suspended a fractious elected council, leaving the manager to run its affairs until the next local elections.
The system was modified also in subsequent legislation, particularly the City and County Management (Amendment) Act, 1955, which made some adjustments to give greater power to the council members, and the Local Government Act 1985, which provided for the council–manager system in Galway city once detached for local government purposes from County Galway.
The County or City Manager performs the executive functions of the County or City Council. He or she supervises, co-ordinates, manages and pays the employees and officers of the Council. He or she also makes contracts on behalf of the Council and affixes the official seal of the Council on documents. The current legislation governing County and City Managers is the Local Government Act 2001. Section 144 of this act states that 'For every county and city there shall be a manager to be known as "the ....... County Manager" or "the ....... City Manager"'. They are appointed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and usually hold office until they die, resign, or are removed from office. A report in 2010 commissioned by the Government suggested reducing the number of county managers from 34 to 24.
County or City Managers in Ireland are recruited through a competitive recruitment process organised by the Public Appointments Service. Once appointed, the County or City Manager will remain in office for a term of 7 years (although this can also be extended by an additional three years). The retirement age for County or City Managers is 65.
If a Council wishes to suspend or remove a County or City Manager, a resolution must be passed by the Council. At least two-thirds of the Councillors must vote for the resolution after 7 days notice. The Minister then sanctions the removal of the County or City Manager.
As well as the County or City Manager, some counties and cities also have Assistant/Deputy County or City Managers. After consultation with the Cathaoirleach (or Mayor) of the local authority, the County or City Manager may appoint a Deputy Manager to act on their behalf while they are on leave or absent. In situations where the post of Manager becomes vacant, Section 148 of the Local Government Act 2001 requires the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to appoint someone to the Manager's post temporarily. This temporary appointment will continue until a permanent appointment is made. It may however, be terminated at any time.
Delegation of manager's functions
It is normal practice in Ireland that the County or City Manager of a local authority will delegate some functions to other staff in the local authority. The elected county or city council must be notified of any delegated functions. However, the County or City Manager still remains responsible for the acts of the delegate and can take back (i.e., revoke) a responsibility that has been delegated. As the chief executive, the County or City Manager has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the local authority operates smoothly and for carrying into effect policy decisions of the elected council.
Under provisions of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, the position of "County/City Manager" will be replaced by that of "Chief Executive". Existing managers will be the initial chief executives, with county/city councils gaining the power to veto subsequent appointments and to remove a chief executive for "stated misbehaviour".
- NUTS 3 statistical regions of the Republic of Ireland
- McCarthy Report
- State-sponsored bodies of the Republic of Ireland.
- City manager
- Council–manager government
- Public Appointments Service
- Commission for Public Service Appointments
- County & City Managers’ Association
- Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers
- ICMA International Affiliates
- "County/City Manager". citizensinformation.ie. 24 June 2010.
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- "County Management Act, 1940". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- Collins, Neil (1987). Local government managers at work: the city and county manager system of local government in the Republic of Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. ISBN 0-906980-60-7.
- "Local Government Act, 2001". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- "Local Government Act, 2001: Position of Manager". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2001. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "County Management Act, 1940". Irish Statute Book.
- "Report of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group" (PDF). RTÉ News. July 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
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- "County Management Act, 1940". Irish Statute Book.
- "LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001" (PDF). Houses of the Oireachtas. 21 July 2001. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001". Irish Statute Book.
- "Bill to slash town councils and halve number of councillors". The Irish Times. 17 October 2013.
- Local Government Reform Act 2014, §§144–146