The Mayor is elected every two years (on the odd-numbered years) and is responsible for all executive decision making. All City departments report to the Mayor who also appoints all members of the boards and commissions.
The Board of Aldermen is the City's legislative branch. Members are elected every two years (on the odd-numbered years.) Four members serve at-large. Seven members represent individual wards. The Board passes ordinances about a broad range of issues, from setting zoning laws to creating boards and commissions. The Board also has the authority to cut funds from the budget presented yearly by the Mayor.
The School Committee oversees the city's school system, working with Superintendent to set broad policies and developing a recommended budget for submission to the Mayor. The Committee is composed of seven members elected by ward every two years (on the odd-numbered years.). The Mayor and the President of The Board of Aldermen are ex-officio members with full voting rights.
Boards and commissions exist to advise or, in some cases, rule on important City business. Members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Aldermen.
Day-to-day City operations are managed by a number of departments, each with a director or commissioner reporting to the Mayor.