The City of Atchison operates under a Commission-Manager form of government. This structure combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of a professional City Manager.
The City Commission, also known as the Governing Body, is made up of five part-time officials elected at-large (community-wide, no districts). The City Commission’s main responsibility is establishing the general policies under which the city operates.
City Commission members are the democratic “voice of the people” and exercise the public’s will by concentrating on issues that are responsive to the needs and the wants of the citizens.
The City Commission accomplishes this by:
- Enacting ordinances (laws) and resolutions (policy or guidance);
- Approving the appointment of the City Manager and members of volunteer advisory boards and committees;
- Reviewing and approving the annual budget, setting the tax rate, and approving the financing of City operations;
- Establishing city fees and city utility rates;
- Authorizing and approving contracts on behalf of the city; and
- Monitoring city programs and services to ensure they are being accomplished in the best possible way.
An election for three of the five commission seats is held in odd numbered years. The two candidates who get the highest number of votes receive four-year terms. The candidate receiving the third highest number of votes gets a two-year term. Candidates can run for re-election as often as they wish.
A Mayor is annually selected by his or her fellow Commissioners to preside over the City Commission meetings, serve as a spokesperson for the community, facilitate communication and understanding among elected officials, and act as a community ambassador. A Vice-Mayor is selected as an alternate to fulfill the duties of the Mayor.