Expand mobile version menu
  Skip to main content

What They Do

General and Operations Managers Career Video

Insider Info

City administrators have many different tasks. They establish policies for the city and its employees. They develop guidelines to keep the city running smoothly. They also provide support and guidance to council.

The city administrator can also be called the chief administrative officer (CAO), city manager or administrative service manager. Despite the various names, they all do the same things.

The mayor appoints the city administrator. They report to the mayor and the city council and have an office at City Hall. But sometimes, city administrators need to go on the road to supervise various projects.

The normal workweek is 40 hours. However, administrators must attend evening meetings and social functions.

They also participate in seminars and conferences. "City administrators need to pool their resources together. They share and learn from each other," says Dave Morris. He is the executive director of a city administrators' association.

"Having one city administrator per city, this makes for a lonely type of work," Morris adds. "Although you are surrounded by people, no one else has the same functions and responsibilities as you."

The most common work-related illness is fatigue from doing too much. Stress management is more than an asset -- it's a must!

"I need to be ready in cases of emergency," says city administrator Judy Rogers. "What if a strike was declared? Or a water pipe broke? How efficiently the city responds with crews, materials and reinforcements will depend on how quickly things are set up and ready to go."

"They are all dedicated people who hold the city within their hands," says Morris.

There are no major physical requirements for this job. But you may need to move around the city you manage quite a bit. This may be somewhat problematic for people with physical mobility challenges.

At a Glance

Keep the city running smoothly

  • You'll establish policies for the city and its employees
  • The size of the city helps determine the salary
  • A degree in commerce, finance or administration is good


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.