The City of Lakeport is defined as a general law class of city. A general law city is governed by California State law and by locally-adopted ordinances. Of California’s 478 cities, 370 are considered general law cities. The remaining 108 are chartered cities governed by the city charter, local ordinances, and some State laws.

Lakeport has a City Council / City Manager form of government. There are five elected City Council Members who serve overlapping terms and who annually select a Mayor from their ranks. The Mayor, which is a largely ceremonial position, presides over the City Council meetings, represents the City at community events, and has the authority to sign letters, proclamations, and other official documents.

Up until 2001, the City operated with a City Council / Department Head form of government. In the year 2000, the City Council approved Ordinance No. 807 which adopted the City Council / City Manager form of local government, designed to combine the leadership policies of elected officials in the form of a City Council with the managerial and administrative abilities of a qualified professional City Manager

Under this form of government, the City Council is the legislative body and power is centralized in the elected Council collectively, and not in individual members of the Council. The Council focuses on the community’s goals, provision of public services and utilities, General Plan and land use, economic development, redevelopment and development standards, capital improvements, financing, and strategic planning. 

The City Manager is hired to serve the Council and the community and to bring to Lakeport the benefits of education, training, and experience in administering the City’s projects, programs, and public services on behalf of the Council. The City Manager prepares a recommended budget for the Council’s consideration; oversees the recruitment, hiring, and supervision of City personnel, contractors, and consultants; serves as the Council’s chief advisor; and implements the Council’s policies and programs and public services in an effective and efficient manner.

The City of Lakeport is a provider of a wide range of services and utilities, which include administration, planning, building, engineering, street maintenance, storm drainage, parks and recreation, police services, economic development, housing, nuisance abatement, as well as water and sewer services (CLMSD).

Lakeport has approximately 50 employees with the largest department being the Lakeport Police Department. Fire protection is provided by the Lakeport Fire Protection District.