The City of Kearney operates under a Council-Manager form of Government. This system combines the strong political leadership of elected officials, in the form of a City Council, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed City Manager. The Council-Manager form of government establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected Council and the Council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services.
The City of Kearney has a five member Council elected in non-partisan elections. Their terms of service are for four years.