Paducah operates under a City Manager Plan form of government. On November 8, 1932, the citizens of Paducah voted to become a City Manager form of Government. The Paducah Board of Commissioners is made up of the Mayor and four Commissioners elected at large by the citizens on a non-partisan basis. The Mayor is elected for a four-year term and Commissioners for a two-year term. The Mayor and Commissioners have equal voting powers.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners sets the policies that govern the City. It appoints advisory citizen groups that help in the decision-making process. The City Manager is appointed by the Board and assists it in formulating objectives, policies, and programs. The City Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the City's approximately 330 full-time employees. Department directors are responsible for their respective departments and report directly to the City Manager.
Paducah and McCracken County studied combining the two government entities into a Charter County form of government. Voters overwhelmingly voted against consolidating the two entities on November 6, 2012. To read the history behind the proposal, the draft plan, and other information, visit Charter County Government Merger Study.