The City of Arroyo Grande is a general law City with a Council-Manager form of government. Under this form of government, the City Council is the policy making body and the City Manager is responsible for carrying out Council policy. The City of Arroyo Grande is governed by a five member City Council, consisting of a directly elected Mayor and four Council Members elected from the City at large. Municipal elections are held each even-numbered year in November, with the Mayor and two Council Members elected on each occasion. The Mayor is elected for a two-year term, and Council Members are elected for four-year terms. The City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers located at 215 E. Branch Street..
The Mayor and City Council appoint a City Manager, who is trained and experienced in municipal affairs and operations, and invest the responsibility of the City's administration and operation to the appointee. The City Manager is also responsible for managing the following City departments: Administrative Services, Legislative and Information Services, Community Development, Recreation Services, Public Works, and Police. Fire Services are provided by the Five Cities Fire Authority under a Joint Powers Agreement.