The mid-sized city of Rockford, located in northern Illinois, has been a slowly growing metropolis. The three counties in the area, of which it is the county seat, are all growing as well. This means Rockford, IL, government must grow along with its residents. On the city level, the Rockford City Council is divided up into 14 wards each of which has an elected alderman. As of 2009, the majority of these wards were democratic. The City Council is the legislative branch of city government and must approve all policy that is enacted. The minutes of City Council meetings are available online, along with contact and other general information for the aldermen.
The Mayor’s Office is the top level of Rockford gov and serves as a focal point for city residents and employees, as well as officials, to handle requests and provide information. The City Administrator works with the Mayor to handle operations on a day-to-day basis. The current Mayor is Lawrence J. Morrissey and he has been in office since 2005.
Part of the alderman’s duties are to serve on city commissions and committees. Rockford has four of these: Legislative Lobbying Committee, Planning and Development Committee, Finance and Personnel Committee, and Code and Regulations Committee.
Within Rockford government offices, there are many city departments. Some of these include the Fire Department, Legal Department, Human Services, Public Works, as well as the previously mentioned committees and the Mayor’s office.
When the Mayor wants something done within the city that is not addressed by one of the four major committees, a task force is established. These task forces can be set up to study or gather data on any subject relevant to the city, its residents or other workings within city boundaries. Statistics are gathered on proposed projects to see if it is a good choice for city government money, and to do an overall benefit analysis. Some of the current task forces include a convention center project and analysis regarding higher education in the area.
There are other governmental bodies within the City of Rockford. Winnebago County (where Rockford is located) has its own programs and works for the area. There are also several townships: Rockford Township (which most of the city of Rockford falls within), Cherry Valley Township, and Owen Township. The Townships work in conjunction with the city, but also provide their own services. Also within the city of Rockford are water and preservation districts.