The governing and legislative body of the city is the City Commission, comprised of five commissioners who are elected at-large on a non-partisan basis. The commission determines all matters of policy and approves all city ordinances and resolutions, as well as adopts the annual city budget.
Each year, the commission elects one of its members to serve as mayor. The mayor presides over commission meetings, has full voting rights, as do other commissioners, but has no veto power. Due to changes at the state level on when local elections take place, the mayoral term will be distributed evenly through 2020, meaning mayors will serve approximately 15-month terms.
Elections are held every other year in odd-numbered years. Three City Commission positions are chosen at each election. The two highest vote recipients receive four-year terms while the third highest vote recipient receives a two-year term.
The mission of the City of Manhattan is to sustain order and protect public safety, promote public health, preserve the built environment, and enhance economic vitality. The City supports a regional community in which individuals and families develop and thrive.