City Council Governance

Burnsville is a vibrant city, bolding leading, welcoming to all.

Council Values

Value icons for respect, belonging, stewardship, adaptability, ethical


The purpose of governance is that the council, on behalf of the people of the City, guarantees the accountability to the people of City government by assuring that it:

  • achieves appropriate results for the appropriate persons at an appropriate cost; and
  • avoids unacceptable activities, conditions and decisions.

To achieve excellent results for our community, we use the carver governance model. The carver model is a system for organizational governance that defines and guides appropriate relationships between the city council, the city manager and city staff.

How We Work Together

The City of Burnsville is a Statutory Plan B city. Under Plan B, the council operates on behalf of our community’s interests, the city manager serves as a chief executive officer, responsible for management of the organization. The city council sets expectations for the city manager and holds the chief executive accountable for results. In turn, the city manager is responsible for carrying out the council’s expectations by giving staff direction that supports that policy. This structure is designed to translate the wishes of the community into results:

community ideas with arrow to circles reading city council, manager, staff and arrow to results

Our Role and Responsibilities

Working effectively together means we all understand our roles and responsibilities.

The council approaches its tasks with an emphasis on future visions, diversity of viewpoints, strategic leadership, and collective and proactive decision making.

The council will:

  • Be mindful of its responsibility and accountability to the community for competent, conscientious and effective accomplishment of its obligations as a body
  • Use responsible and respectful decision-making practices to govern with excellence
  • Initiate policy and inspire City management through broad organizational policies, values and priorities
  • Focus long-term impacts decisions have on the community
  • Act as a body to make wise policy
  • Be responsible for council process and performance

While the council’s job is generally confined to establishing broad policies, implementation and subsidiary policy development is delegated to the city manager. The city manager’s performance will be considered to be synonymous with organizational performance as a whole.

The city manager and senior leadership will:

  • Be responsible for delegating council priorities to staff to accomplish council goals
  • Establish further policies, decisions, actions and activities as long as they are consonant with reasonable interpretation of the council’s policies
  • Provide information and reporting as needed to the council
  • Operate with prudence and ethics

We are committed to governing in a way that is responsive and professional, aligned with our vision and values, and respectful of our community’s diversity and needs.

Learn more about Burnsville’s council, governance and operations in the full policy: 

Governance Policy Notebook - PDF, 14 pages