With the profound effect of information technology on the practice of politics at every stage of the process accelerating the pace of politic activity and perhaps also changing its very nature, the responsibility of established government structures, such as municipal charters, to ensure stability has increased significantly. This issue looks at the critical role of local government structure and performance in maintaining that stability. The contributors examine everything from charters themselves to the role and position of the mayor, the city council, and the chief administrative office in various forms of local government. A framework for assessing the city council by the type of role it performs, distinctions among mayoral types and qualities of mayoral leadership, and the results of a study of 26 mayor-council governed cities revealing the common characteristics of a chief administrative officer's role are all presented. A historical view of municipal charters and their continuing importance to public life is examined. Other trends discussed include a study of the emergence of regional governance in the metropolitan Chicago area and the state of the civic renewal movement today and the challenges it continues to face for tomorrow.