The City of East Lansing operates under the council-manager form of government. This system of government was designed to remove politics from municipal administration and is one of two main variations of representative municipal government in the United States.
East Lansing’s government is comprised of a city council and an appointed city manager. The five officials elected to serve on the East Lansing City Council are the policy-making and legislative body for the City government. These councilmembers are elected at large for four overlapping years. The mayor and mayor pro tem are elected as councilmembers and then appointed to the mayor and mayor pro tem positions by the sitting council.
The city manager is appointed by the East Lansing City Council and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and the City’s $70 million annual budget. In addition, key responsibilities include coordination and development of services and programs, supervision of all City departments and implementation of City Council's strategic policy decisions.
East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas was appointed in January 2012 and is the fifth city manager to serve East Lansing in its history.