Murphysboro was officially incorporated as a city on March 4, 1867. The city government consists of the mayor-council type and features the following key roles:

Mayor – The mayor represents the city at official, civic, and social functions and serves as executive head of the city. The mayor presides over all council meetings, but has no vote except in the case of a tie. He has the power to veto an ordinance, but the ordinance may be carried over a veto by a two-thirds vote of the council.

With approval of the council, the mayor appoints members of the Sallie Logan Library Board to operate the city library. Murphysboro’s two representatives on the Southern Illinois Airport Board are appointed by the mayor and the county judge. The Murphysboro Park Board is filled by regular election.

The mayor is also required by Illinois law to serve as the city liquor commissioner. The duties of the commissioner include issuing liquor licenses and collecting fees from all licensed liquor dispensers within the corporate limits of the city, as well as controlling any action to revoke a liquor license for a violation.

The mayor is elected to a four-year term.

City Council – The city council consists of ten aldermen, with two alderman representing each of five wards. The council runs the city through committees appointed by the mayor. The council is the general policy making body of the city, and through its legal adviser, the city attorney, drafts and puts into force the various ordinances that regulate city activities.

Alderman are elected to four-year terms, with the terms staggered so that five aldermen are elected every two years.

City Clerk – The city clerk is in charge of all records and papers of the city, including all city council business. The clerk issues all notices, pays all city bills, receives all fees paid for various classes of licenses issued by the city, and issues building permits for new construction.

The city clerk is elected to a four-year term.

City Attorney – The city attorney represents the city in all legal matters. He is the legal adviser of the council and represents the city in any legal action.

The city attorney is appointed, and when the need arises, the council has the authority to hire special legal counsel to assist the city attorney.