City Government Structure

An inside look explaining the  structure of St. Louis City government and how it works.

Overview

The governmental structure of the City of St. Louis is unusual in the United States. Since 1876, St. Louis has been an independent city, meaning it is not part of any county. St. Louis operates as both a city and a county. St. Louis is the only city in Missouri which operates its own "county" offices. St. Louis is a home rule city, but it is not a home rule county, thus county functions and offices are subject to state restrictions on county governments. 

St. Louis County is an entirely separate governmental entity surrounding the City of St. Louis.

City Functions

The Board of Aldermen

The Board of Aldermen is the city's legislative body, which develops and approves city ordinances and resolutions. 

  • Each elected separately from 28 wards to four year terms.
  • Every two years, half the aldermen are elected.

President of the Board of Aldermen

  • Is elected citywide to a four year term. 
  • Also serves as a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

Mayor

  • The Mayor is the city's chief executive officer. 
  • Has power to appoint major department and bureau heads and members of city boards and commissions. 
  • Does not have a vote in the Board of Aldermen, but does have power to veto ordinances.
  • Is elected citywide to a four year term.
  • Also serves as a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

Comptroller

  • The Comptroller supervises the fiscal affairs of the City.
  • The office is responsible for all accounting, payroll and auditing functions.
  • Is elected citywide to a four year term.
  • Also serves as a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
 

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment

  • Also known as E&A, is the city's main fiscal body.
  • Controls the city budget and sets the budget ceiling.
  • Consists of three citywide elected officials: the Mayor, the President of the Board of Aldermen, and the Comptroller.

Organization Chart for City of St. Louis Government

City of St. Louis Organization Chart

County Functions

St. Louis operates as both a city and a county. St. Louis is the only city in Missouri which operates its own "county" offices. St. Louis is a home rule city, but it is not a home rule county, thus county functions and offices are subject to state restrictions on county governments. 

Learn more about County Functions.

State Statutory Agencies

A few additional agencies have been created and are under state statutory authority, not under the mayor's office.

Learn more about State Statutory Agencies.

Independent Special Districts

St. Louis has been an independent city, meaning it is not part of any county. St. Louis area operates many additional Independent Special Districts.

Learn more about Independent Special Districts.

Regional Special Districts 

Independent, special-purpose governmental units formed to perform a single regional functions or a set of related functions.  

Learn more about Regional Special Districts.

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