The City of Longview operates as a municipality under the authority of the City Charter. The document establishes the general city government structure including topics such as the city's incorporation, form of government, powers of the city, election process, as well as the organization and duties of the city council, mayor, and city manager.
Since the original adoption of the charter in 1979, the City of Longview has operated as a Home Rule city. Home rule cities look to the state to tell them what they are prohibited from doing, rather than looking for specific grants of authority to undertake particular functions. The most recent update to the City Charter was approved by voters in 2013.
Longview's City Charter establishes the "Council-Manager" form of government. As such, the powers of the city shall be vested in an elective City Council which shall enact local legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies, and appoint the City Manager, who shall execute the laws and administer the government of the city.