South Brunswick has a Council-Manager Form of New Jersey municipal government.

This form of municipal government provides for an experienced professional to serve as the chief executive.

The council is made up of five, seven or nine elected members. The council is the legislative body of the municipality but also appoints the positions of Municipal Clerk, Tax Assessor and well as provides for appointments of members of Boards, Commissions and Authorities. Perhaps most importantly, the council appoints a qualified manager to serve as the chief executive.

The mayor can either be selected from the council or directly elected. Either way, the mayor serves as the presiding member of the council. The Manager has the full administrative responsibility for the municipality, including appointment of department heads as well as subordinates, preparation and presentation of the budget and the negotiation of contracts.

A municipality under the Council-Manager form has the following options:

  1. Partisan or nonpartisan elections. If the elections are nonpartisan, the municipality has the option of run-off elections.
  2. Staggered or concurrent terms.
  3. The mayor can be voted directly by the people or selected from among the council. If elected by the voters, the mayor serves a four-year term. If selected by the council, the mayor serves either a one, two or four year term, depending on whether the council serves staggered or concurrent terms and local ordinances.
  4. Council members can be elected at-large or from wards. If the municipality operates under a ward-based system, the number of wards is also an option.
  5. The size of the council can be five, seven or nine members.
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