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Acting vs Interim

[Anonymous] asked

I am currently an Assistant Township Manager. Our Township Manager will be retiring effective November 27th. The Township Council has asked me to serve has Acting Township Manager, effective Dec 1, until they can complete the search process. In the past when the Manager has been out due to illness, I have acted in the capacity of Acting Township Manager. My question is now that there will no longer be a person appointed as Township Manager, should I be appointed as an Interim Manager or Acting Manager?

Or is there no difference?

Thank you.


Robert Carty

It’s more semantics. Interims are generally appointed from outside the organization while actings are appointed from within. That said, it doesn’t really matter as long as the appointment includes all the requisite powers.

William Lutz

I can understand your concern. I would say that acting makes a bit of sense. Let the board go through their process and if their process ends up not working, they may appoint you as interim until they go through the process again. Additionally, they may be appointing you as acting due to the short period of time they are anticipating you as serving in such capacity.

Kenneth Decker

As with so many things, what matters is what the elected officials think. If your Board prefers one term to the other--for any reason--so be it. As Robert sagely observes, though, make sure that you and the Board have a clear understanding as to the scope of your authority.

Ann Mahoney

Be sure to check out ICMA's Acting Manager's Handbook (, which was written by a task force of members and contains more than a dozen articles about different dimensions of being an acting or iterim manager.

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26 Oct 10
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