City government, also known as municipal or local government, is recognized in the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. A local government organization must be incorporated through a vote of residents. Winter Haven was incorporated as a town in 1911, then later as a city in 1923.
The Winter Haven City Commission is responsible for adopting local ordinances and resolutions. The City is organized under the commission/manager form of government, a system of local government that combines strong political leadership of elected officials (City Commissioners) with strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager (City Manager). The City Commission appoints the City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk.
The City Manager is the administrative head of day-to-day operations and oversees all city departments.
The City Attorney is contracted by the City Commission to provide legal services authorized by the City Commission. He attends all City Commission meetings.
City Clerk duties are specified in the City Charter. The clerk is responsible for providing notice of all City Commission meetings, keeping minutes of those, and maintains custody of the city seal and official records.