Worcester is governed by a Council-manager form of government with a popularly elected mayor. A city council acts as the legislative body, and the council-appointed manager handles the traditional day-to-day chief executive functions.
Worcester's first charter, which went into effect in 1848, established a Mayor/Bicameral form of government. Together, the two chambers - the 11-member Board of Aldermen and the 30-member Common Council - were vested with complete legislative powers. The mayor handled all administrative departments, though appointments to those departments had to be approved by the two-chamber City Council.
Seeking to replace the old outdated charter, Worcester voters in November 1947 approved of a change to Plan E municipal government. In effect from January 1949 until November 1985, this charter (as outlined in M.G.L. Chapter 43) established City Council/City Manager government. This type of governance, with modifications, has survived to the present day.
Initially, Plan E government in Worcester was organized as a 9-member council (all at-large), a ceremonial mayor elected from the council by the councilors, and a council-appointed city manager. The manager oversees the daily administration of the city, makes all appointments to city offices, and can be removed at any time by a majority vote of the Council. The mayor chairs the city council and the school committee, and does not have the power to veto any vote.
In 1983, Worcester voters again decided to change the city charter. This "Home Rule" charter (named for the method of adoption of the charter) is similar to Plan E, the major changes being to the structure of the council and the election of the mayor. The 9-member Council became 11, 6 At-Large and 1 from each city district. The mayor is chosen by popular election, but must run as an At-Large Councilor.
Worcester offers a great opportunity to own or rent, raise a family or live independently. Worcester is a city that offers the best of both large and small cities with its affordable housing; quality public schools; access to diverse culture, sports, restaurants and entertainment; and reliable local and regional transportation.
*Residents and businesses also have the option of choosing from competing wireless telephone, satellite television and electricity suppliers.
Learn more about Worcester's history at the Worcester Historical Museum.