The City of McDonough operates under a quasi council-manager form of government. The Charter of the City of McDonough establishes the City Council as the governing and legislative authority of the City government.
Under this system of local government, the elected officials are the community leaders and policy makers who establish a vision for their city, town, or county, and who hire the Manager to carry out policy and ensure that all residents are being equitably served. The Manager coordinates the work of department heads and other employees, who help ensure the smooth and efficient delivery of services. The Manager is responsible for preparing the budget, directing day-to-day operations, hiring and firing personnel, and serving as the Council's chief policy adviser.