Mayoral Authority in South Bend

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Mayoral Authority in South Bend

South Bend City Government

Divisions of Government: City Clerk Common Council Mayor’s Office

South Bend, Indiana has a strong-mayor system of government. Most major and large American cities use a strong-mayor form of government. The elected Mayor serves as the chief executive officer with a centralized administrative structure. The Mayor develops and implements public policy, directs city operations including public safety and other services, and promotes job growth and community development. The Mayor of South Bend is responsible for a city workforce of over 1,000 employees. The Mayor appoints and supervises of all department heads and their department finances including participation and contracting for state, federal, or private funding. The Mayor prepares and administers the annual city budget (over 380 millions dollars), which must be approved by the Common Council. The Mayor has the ability to issue Executive Orders. The Mayor also gives an annual address to the Common Council. The elected Common Council has legislative power over ordinances and resolutions, however the Mayor retains the ability to veto their decisions. There are 6 elected district council members and 3 elected at-large members. Voters also elect a City Clerk.

Other entities of independent local government that are not under the control of the Mayor or the City include the South Bend School Corporation, the St Joseph County Library, the St Joseph County Health Department, the Circuit Court, and St Joseph County officials such as the coroner, sheriff, and prosecuting attorney. In addition, the Housing Authority of South Bend is an independent agency administering public housing. The Historic Preservation Commission is a collaborative effort by city and county government.

Mayoral Responsibilities

Executive Departments:

  • Administration and Finance (purchasing, personnel, Human Rights Commission)
  • Animal Resource Center
  • Building (permits, inspections, building code enforcement, trade licensing and testing)
  • Code Enforcement (buildings, license enforcement, environmental code)
  • Community Investment (community development and redevelopment, housing, economic and neighborhood development, planning, licenses, Redevelopment Authority)
  • Fire
  • Innovation and Technology (technology, business analytics, 311 customer service center)
  • Legal
  • Police
  • Public Works (engineering, streets, traffic, parking, lighting, sanitation, sewers, waste water, water works, vehicle maintenance, Storm Water Management)
  • Venues, Parks, and Arts (parks, playgrounds, zoo, greenhouse, cemeteries, recreation programs, performing arts center, parking garages, streetscape)

Board of Public Safety (members appointed by mayor) has exclusive control over the following:

  • Adopting policies applicable to the Police and Fire Departments
  • Adopting general and special orders to the Police and Fire Departments
  • Approving the employment and training of police officers and firefighters
  • Swearing in of police officers and firefighters upon completion of training
  • Disciplinary actions for police officers and firefighters
  • Approving police and fire coverage to newly annexed or other areas

Board of Public Works (members appointed by mayor) is the contracting agency for all city business.

Executive Orders:

  • City of South Bend Ethics Code
  • Increase in Number of Members to Board of Public Works
  • Citywide Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
  • Open Data Policy and Portal for Public Information
  • City Recognized Identification Program

Joint Mayoral and Common Council Authority

Boards and Commissions (members appointed by both Mayor and Common Council):

  • Area Planning Commission
  • Civic Center Board of Managers (Century Center, Morris Performing Arts Center, Palais Royale)
  • Energy Conservation Commission
  • Older Adults Council
  • Mayor’s Citizens’ Traffic Commission
  • Economic Development Commission
  • Advisory Commission on Black Males
  • Minority Business Enterprise and Woman Business Enterprise Utilization Board
  • Advisory Commission on Industrial Development
  • Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Animal Control Commission
  • Redevelopment Commission


  1. City of South Bend
  2. St Joseph County
  3. City of South Bend Open Portal
  4. City of South Bend Annual Reports, Financial Reports,Bonds, Budgets, Credit Ratings
  5. City of South Bend Municipal Code