The City of Yankton’s form of government is unique in that it is one of only a few in the State of South Dakota to have the Council/Manager form of government.
Only a handful of other cities in South Dakota to have this form of government. In 1910 the commission form of government was adopted for Yankton. In 1955 the form of government was changed to the current Council/Manager plan.
The Council/Manager plan is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a city commission, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. The plan establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected council as a whole and where the council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services. There are over 3,000 local governments who operate under this plan.
The Yankton Board of City Commissioners is made up of nine Commissioners. Each Commissioner serves a three year term and may be re-elected. The Mayor is appointed by his or her peers at the first meeting in May of each year. The Mayor may also serve more than one term. The City of Yankton has had 61 different mayors since it was granted its franchise on January 2, 1869. The first elected mayor was William Nels Collamer, a tinsmith and former territorial legislator. Nancy Wenande is the current Mayor for the City of Yankton.