The City of Tucson

The Tucson Charter Change Coalition (TC3)


Key Documents

TC3 letter presents four key recommendations to the mayor and council.
The Tucson Charter Change Coalition presented four key recommendations to the mayor and council in a letter on June 8. Read more ›


Taking Stock of the Council-Manager Form at 100, James H. Svara and Kimberly L. Nelson
In 1908, a single city adopted what would eventually become the council- manager form of government. In 2008, more than 3,500 cities with populations exceeding 2,500 persons and more than 370 counties use the form. Beyond the direct effect of introducing a new structural option for the organization of local government, this new form also elevated the option of appointing a centrally located generalist administrator in other forms of government. Almost half of mayorcouncil governments and more than half of the commission and town meeting governments have a chief administrative officer (CAO) or city administrator, and such a position is often found in elected county executive governments as well. Read more ›

Charter Reform: How to Think About It, Robert O’Neill and John Nalbandian
Form-of-government initiatives can be challenging because the underlying differences between the council-manager and mayor-council forms—and all the variations in between—often are misunderstood or distorted. The impetus for those advocating the mayor-council form of government is often twofold: a need for strong leadership, and the hope that a single, elected individual can rise above the challenges of local political culture and the inevitable conflict in policy debates to make a difference. Read more ›

Read more Thoughts on Charter Reform, James H. Svara
An article by Robert O’Neill and John Nalbandian in the November 2009 issue of PM, "Charter Reform: Ways to Think About It," identifies the key components in designing governmental structure. The way they interpret form of government and the options they suggest for charter reform, however, call for more thought and additional evidence. Many of the points I make are contained in their thoughtful article, but I feel that they need more emphasis. Read more ›


Tucson Charter Reform, John Nalbandian, University of Kansas
Form of government functions; Benefits and costs of two forms; Comments on your recommendations. Read more ›

Thinking About Change in City Government, James H. Svara, Arizona State University
A presentation to Tucson Charter Charter Change Coalition (April 30, 2010). Read more ›

Presenter Biographies

John Nalbandian, University of Kansas
John Nalbandian is a faculty member in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Kansas. He also serves as the Greg and Emma Melikian Visiting Scholar of Urban Affairs at Arizona State University. He came to Kansas in 1976 from Los Angeles, where he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California. He served as department chair from 1983-1988 and again from 2000-2008. Read more ›

James H. Svara, Arizona State University
Jim Svara is Professor in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University and Director of the Center for Urban Innovation. In his research and teaching, he specializes in local government politics, management, and ethics, and has a special interest in the roles and responsibilities of elected and administrative leaders in local government. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters that examine leadership by mayors, council members, and city managers. Read more ›