Percentage of Female City Managers in Metro-Detroit Below Average

The percentage of females who serve as city managers in Southeastern Michigan is below the national average. In Southeastern Michigan, 10 percent of the cities with city managers had those positions filled by females. According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a 2012 survey administered by this professional management organization found that about 20 percent of chief administrative officers in local government are females. Additionally, ICMA membership records show that 15 percent of the organization’s members in 2016 were female city managers.

In Southeastern Michigan there are 233 municipalities (not including counties or special districts), most of which are townships. Typically, the chief administrative officer in a township is the township supervisor, which is an elected position (more on this can be found in a past post). There are about 75 cities in Southeastern Michigan, but again, not all have city managers. Cities like Detroit and Warren have a strong mayor form of government, meaning the elected mayor serves as the chief administrative officer. Of the 69 cities with a council-manager form of government, only six had a female city manager, according to information found on each city’s website.

The largest city in Southeastern Michigan with a female city manager is Ferndale, which is located in southern Oakland County with a population of about 20,000. April Lynch has served as the Ferndale’s City Manager since 2011. The other cities with female city managers are: Belleville, Hamtramck, Lathrup Village, South Lyon and Rockwood.

In addition to cities and townships, villages are another form of local government in Michigan. In the map below these communities with chief administrative officers are also highlighted. Of the six villages in Southeastern Michigan with a village administrator one has a female serving in that position (not all villages have such a chief administrative officer-many villages have small populations, and the village president serves as the chief administrative officer). The village with a female administrator is the Village of Bingham Farms, which is located in Oakland County and has a population of about 1,100.


As noted in our recent elected officials post, more than 50 percent of the country’s population is made up of females, but a much smaller number of females serve in elected positions, and as this post shows, are selected to lead local government. This conversation is being raised by organizations such as ICMA and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Locally though, more conversations need to take place to at least put Southeastern Michigan in line with or above the national average, so there is a more inclusive and representative pool of local government leaders.