Incorporated in 1859, the City of Waukegan is a political subdivision of the State of Illinois, located in the County of Lake along the state's northeast boundaries. Waukegan is approximately 24 square miles in area and has a current population of 89,877, making it the ninth largest city in the state. The city operates under a mayor-aldermanic form of government, with a mayor and nine aldermen representing nine wards and serving as the City Council.
Administration of city government is headed by the mayor, who is elected on at-large basis for a four-year term. Although the mayor and aldermen all serve for four years, their elections are held two years apart, making it possible for the city to maintain a realistic separation of duties and constituencies. With the consent of the council, the mayor appoints the various department heads. As head of the local governmental unit, the mayor serves as the chief administrative and executive officer of the city. In this capacity, the mayor is responsible for administering the policies enacted by the council, for making recommendations to the City Council on matters of legislation, finances, capital improvements, and programs and policies, as applicable.
Geographic segments of Waukegan fall within one of six separate townships: Waukegan, Warren, Benton, Libertyville, Shields, and Newport. Each township represents a separate government, organized under the laws of the State of Illinois. The townships are directed by elected township supervisors, who serve as supervisors of general assistance and emergency assistance service for individuals. The services of the township are different from and not duplicative of the type of services provided by the city.