Designated a “Home Rule City”, Durango adopted its most recent charter in 1978—an update of the original city charter and vision for Durango adopted in 1912. The 1978 charter was revised to encourage involvement from the citizenry, the authors adhering to the philosophy that when citizens actively participate in government, protection of the public interest is best insured.
The city operates under the Council-Manager plan, and all powers of the city are exercised by, through and under the direction of the elected, five-member City Council. Council members serve a four-year term, with the mayor selected for a one-year term by fellow council members. The council appoints the city manager for an indefinite term, and he or she is responsible for managing the “business” of the city, much like a CEO in the private sector. The council evaluates the city manager’s performance annually.