Municipal Government Structure in Wisconsin: Does Form Matter?

Karl Nollenberger, James Simmons


This article examines the forms of municipal governments in Wisconsin and their relationship to variables in the areas of socioeconomic, partisanship, election process, decision-making in the governance process, and internal municipal operations. Wisconsin has more mayor-council and mayoral forms with an appointed administrator rather than council-manager forms common in other states. We find that reform in Wisconsin has occurred in all government forms and that most municipalities desiring the managerial results of a professional administration have chosen an adaptation of the mayor-council form. Furthermore, we find that there are few clearly identifiable differences between cities with differing governmental forms.


Form of Government; Professionalism; Wisconsin

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