The City of Sylvania operates under a council-manager form of government, which closely resembles a private-sector business. Under this structure, residents are treated as shareholders who elect a city council to serve as their board of directors. The city manager serves similar functions as a CEO and the Mayor serves as the chairman of the board. City council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
The council-manager form of government combines the strong political leadership of the elected mayor and council with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. This form of government seeks to enhance the effectiveness of local policy-making and municipal operations by bringing together skilled lawmakers, community representatives and experts in municipal administration and management.
The City of Sylvania's government structure consists of a Mayor and six Council Members. Each Council Member represents an equal portion of residents in the city and is elected at-large not by ward. Council Members have personal email through the City so they can be contacted with any questions regarding city issues. Council members are elected to staggered four-year terms in odd-numbered years.
The council manager form of government has been in existence for more than 100 years. The city management profession was developed in the early 1900s by reformers who advocated the ideology of professional management in local government. Staunton, VA,, adopted an ordinance in 1908 creating the first position resembling what is known today as the city manager. Sumter, SC, became the first city to adopt a charter incorporating the council-manager form of government in 1912. In Georgia, the City of Cartersville, was the first municipality to adopt the council-manager form of government in 1917.