The City of Oceanside, incorporated in 1888, is a municipal corporation and has a five-member elected City Council that serves as the legislative body of the corporation. As elected officials, the Mayor and City Councilmembers serve at the pleasure of the voters and make decisions on issues and policies relating to general City operations. The City Council also serves as the Small Craft Harbor District Board of Directors, the Community Development Commission (CDC), and the Oceanside Public Financing Authority.
As an elected official, the City Clerk provides legislative services to the City Council, and serves as the Secretary to the Harbor District, the Community Development Commission, and Public Financing Authority. The City Treasurer, also an elected official, serves as the treasurer for all of the legislative bodies. Both elected officials serve at the pleasure of the voters.
The City of Oceanside follows the Council/Manager form of government in which the City Council sets laws and policies, and the City Manager performs administrative duties established by ordinances and City policies.
The City Manager is appointed by the City Council to serve as the City's chief executive officer and is responsible for the management of all municipal programs and services. The City Manager also serves as the Administrative Officer for the Harbor District, and as the Executive Director of the CDC and Public Financing Authority. As part of the duties, the City Manager oversees operations of City departments through the Department Directors.
The City Attorney is appointed by the City Council to serve as legal counsel to the City, Harbor District, CDC, and Public Financing Authority.
The City of Oceanside is a Charter City as of June 8, 2010. A City governed on the basis of a Charter establishes its powers and authorities, as contrasted with a General Law City that enjoys only those powers specifically granted to it by the State.
As a full-service City, Oceanside provides the community with such services as police, fire, library, water and sewer. In addition, the City has an airport, a small craft harbor, a municipal pier, golf courses, swimming pools and numerous parks, and community center facilities.