AZ League Connection

The League's Monthly Online Newsletter

Issue 207: July 2020

National Civic League: Help Modernize the Model City Charter

Recent events have challenged local governments with debates over public health, racial equity and policing raising important issues, including questions about the distribution of power and decision-making responsibility.

The National Civic League is looking for volunteers to assist in efforts to review, revise and update the Model City Charter to ensure that the document best reflects the realities facing local governments in the 21st Century.

The League’s Model City Charter was originally developed in 1900 by a group of civic leaders, scholars and public administration experts who met annually to make recommendations about best practices in local governments. At the time, there were no generally accepted models and many municipal governments were loosely connected collections of stand-alone departments with few standards for performance or professional training.

Early editions of the Model City Charter embraced reforms such as home rule, nonpartisan elections, a merit system for public employees and (after 1915) the “city council/city manager” plan for local government.

In the 2020s, local governments face new challenges. In addition to the traditional emphasis on efficiency, economy and effectiveness, the next model will reflect up to date ideas on issues such as social equity, public engagement, the use of technology and social media and new roles for elected and appointed leaders.

To help us work through these questions and issues by serving on one of our charter review committees, please contact Mike McGrath at the National Civic League, 303 571-4343 or

In the meantime, please consider and answer a few questions by taking this online survey on priorities for the Ninth Edition Model City Charter Review Committee.

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League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874