Another feature of municipal government in Cambridge
—a direct result of non-partisanship—is the retention of city officials in office.
It would be hard to find an instance where an official had been removed, except for cause, and happily there have been few such cases.
It is customary also to promote subordinates when a vacancy occurs, and as a result, there are many officials who have spent the best part of their lives in the city's service.
The machinery of the city government of Cambridge
is vested in a mayor, a city council of two branches, a school committee, and a board of assessors.
The mayor, aldermen
, school committee, and board of assessors are elected by a plurality vote of all the voters of the city, but each ward is entitled to three members of the school committee.
The common councilmen are elected by wards.
All other boards and all heads of departments are either appointed by the mayor subject to the confirmation of the board of aldermen (and this method applies to most), or they are chosen by a vote of the city council.
Boards and heads of departments appoint all their subordinates, except in the police and fire departments, and except also in the cases of the assistant assessors and the assistant city clerk.
In the police and fire departments, the subordinates are appointed by the mayor subject to the confirmation of the board of aldermen, and the same is true of the assistant assessors.
The assistant city clerk is elected by the city council.
After due hearing, with the approval of a majority of the board of aldermen, the mayor may remove any member of the board of overseers of the poor or of the board of health, and any other officer or member of a board appointed by him. The mayor is not a member of either branch of the city council.
The executive powers of the city are vested in him, and he is also surveyor of highways.
All executive boards and officers are at all times accountable to him for the proper discharge of their duties.
The mayor has a qualified veto power over the doings of the city council, and of the board of aldermen; all contracts over $300 require his approval before going into effect, and he submits annually to the city council the estimates of money required for the respective departments with his recommendations on them.
No expenditure can be made and no liability incurred for any purpose beyond the appropriation previously made.
To the city council or to the board of aldermen are given all the powers of the