Abbeville is governed by a Mayor-Council form of government. Under the mayor-council form of government, the council is the local legislative body upon which rests the responsibility of determining the policies to be followed in the administration of the municipal government. In almost every instance where state law grants authority to cities and towns under the mayor-council form of government, such authority must be exercised through the council. The council is the ultimate source of power in the mayor-council city or town, and in its exercise of this power, the council determines the extent to which the governmental and corporate functions of the municipalityare exercised.
From another viewpoint, the council is a body of local representatives brought together to pool their collective wisdom for the guidance of the city or town. Because the council is composed of men and women with a wide variety of knowledge and experience, and because councilmembers are representatives of the people, the mayor-council form of government has proven to be the most popular form of municipal government in Alabama. The success of the council depends, to a large extent, upon the willingness of each individual councilmember to give time, knowledge and experience for the performance of this very important responsibility.
While the council is the ultimate source of authority in the government of the city or town, the success of its efforts also depends upon the officials and employees who will administer its policies and decisions. Foremost among these other officials is the mayor.
Excerpted from the 2012 Mayor Council Handbook