The City of Asheville operates under a council-manager form of government, which is prescribed by its charter. More than 3,400 cities and 371 counties operate under this system, which means more than 89 million American citizens live in communities with this form of government. Since its establishment, the Council-Manager form has become the most popular form of government in the United States in communities with populations of 5,000 citizens or more.
The Asheville City Council is composed of a mayor and six council members who are elected at-large for four-year, staggered terms. The mayor, who is chosen on a separate ballot, presides over City Council meetings and serves as the ceremonial head of government. The mayor does not have the power to veto council action.
In the absence or disability of the mayor, the vice-mayor performs the mayoral duties. The vice-mayor is appointed by the members of City Council. City Council determines the needs to be addressed and the degree of service to be provided by the administrative branch of city government.