The City of Gaithersburg operates under the council-manager form of municipal government.
The Mayor and City Council are elected to staggered four-year terms, and the Mayor serves as Council President.
City elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in odd numbered years.
- Gaithersburg was incorporated on April 5, 1878 under a charter that called for a governing board of five commissioners.
- The Mayor-Council form of government was established in 1898 when the state granted authority for the City to be run by a mayor and four councilmen. In 1958, a fifth council member was added.
- In 1962 the present council-manager system of Government was created when the charter was amended to provide for the appointment of a City Manager.
- The Mayor is elected by the citizens of Gaithersburg to serve a four-year term. The Mayor must live within the City limits of Gaithersburg, must have been a City resident for one year prior to election, and must be a qualified voter.
- The Mayor receives a small annual salary that is fixed by an ordinance passed by the Council. The position is considered part-time and the Mayor conducts business at City Hall as needed.
- One of the main duties of the Mayor is to serve as President of the Council. The Mayor may take part in all discussions by the Council, but does not have a vote on any decision. He may veto ordinances and may make appointments to City boards, commissions and committees, subject to confirmation by the Council.
- The Mayor also is the official head of the City and presides at official meetings and ceremonies.
- The City Council consists of five elected members who serve four-year terms. Council members vote on issues and are given numerous powers under the City Charter.
- City Council members attend many meetings and functions in the City. They participate in almost all City ceremonies with the Mayor.
- Working with citizens of Gaithersburg is one of the most important duties of a Council member. They listen to people's problems and concerns and determine what can be done to help them.
- City Council members are public servants who see that programs and services are available to everyone who lives in Gaithersburg.
- The City Council appoints the City Manager who acts as the chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch of the City.
- The City Manager sees that laws or ordinances of the City are implemented and is responsible to the Mayor and Council for the proper administration of all City affairs.
- Each year the City Manager prepares the City budget and is responsible to the Mayor and Council for its administration after it is adopted.
- The City relies on Citizen Committees, boards and commissions to serve as advisors for specific issues such as transportation, environmental affairs, economic development, planning, and many more.
- Appointments to City boards, commissions and committees are made by the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Council.