Understanding Our Government

Type of Government - Statutory City Plan A

The City of Frazee is governed by the Statutory City Plan A form of government.  Plan A constitutes a simple change in organization from the Standard Plan.  In Minnesota, 601 cities presently operate under the Plan A form of government.  One of the distinctive features of this plan is that it removes the clerk from the council and replaces that position with a fourth (or sixth) elected council member.  Another feature is that the council appoints the clerk and treasurer for indefinite terms of office.  The duties of these two appointed officers are the same under Plan A as they are under the Standard plan of government except that the clerk is not a member of the council and cannot vote at council meetings.

This plan allows cities to hire trained and experienced people who can perform with competence the complex duties of the clerk and treasurer.  To help ensure the selection of qualified people for these positions, state law allows the council to appoint people who are not residents of the city and prohibits the council from requiring residence as a condition of employment.  In the selection of clerk, for example, many cities have gone outside the city to hire a person with training and experience in city management.

Distinct features of Plan A

1.  A five- or seven-member council, consisting of a mayor and four or six council members, runs the government.

2.  Council appoints the clerk and treasurer or clerk/treasurer combined for indefinite terms.

3.  Council appoints police chief, attorney, municipal fire chief, and liquor store manager.

4.  Council has all the administrative and legislative authority and responsibility that councils in Standard Plan cities have.

Form of Government - Weak Mayor-Council

Cities in Minnesota have used four administrative patterns or formats in their internal organization, including weak mayor-council, strong mayor-council, council-manager, and commission.

The city of Frazee uses the weak mayor-council form of city government. The weak mayor-council plan is by far the most common plan in Minnesota.  It is used by all 731 standard plan and plan A statutory cities and 73 out of the 107 home rule charter cities.  Under the weak mayor-council plan, administrative as well as legislative authority is the ultimate responsibility of the council unless the council unless the council has created an independent board, such as a utilites commission, to handle one or more specific functions.

The mayor's powers in weak mayor-council communities are no greater than those of any other member of the council, with the exception of the mayor's role as presiding officer at council meetings and several minor duties.  No individual council member holds specific administrative powers.  Many statutory standard plan and plan A cities have created combined city clerk-administrator positions.

Council Actions

Letter from President George Bush, 1991

Letter from the State of Minnesota, 1991