Albert Lea is a Charter form of government with a Council-Manager plan. Citizens elect the City Council, which consists of one Council member for each of the city’s six wards and a Mayor. The Mayor is a member of the City Council and ceremonial leader of the city. Council members serve staggered, four-year terms. The Mayor serves a four year term. The City Council hires the City Manager who oversees the city’s day-to-day operations.

Minnesota state law (Chapter 156 of the Session Laws of 2005) requires that "a city or county with a population of more than 15,000 must annually notify its residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees." For the City of Albert Lea, titles and salaries as of Jan. 1, 2019, are: City Manager, $138,375.12; Director of Public Works/City Engineer $110,780.80; and Director of Public Safety $103,646.40. Date of publication: January 23, 2019.