Salem was founded in 1823, incorporated as the Town of Salem on February 14, 1855, and incorporated as the City of Salem on April 17, 1865. The City of Salem is a non-home rule unit that operates under the city manager form of government.
The City Council is comprised of the Mayor and four Councilmen who are elected at large for four-year terms. The Mayor is the official head of the city. The powers of the Mayor and Council are purely legislative; except as otherwise provided in the ordinance for the office of the Mayor. The City Manager is selected by the Council and is responsible for the efficient administration of the business of the city. The City Clerk, the City Treasurer, and Members of Boards and Commissions are all appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the Council.
It is the purpose of the City of Salem to promote and protect the health; safety and welfare of all citizens while advancing a program of activities intended to enhance the socioeconomic structure within its jurisdiction.