The City Commission consists of five officials elected at large.
Three City Commissioners are up for election every two years. The two top vote-getters win four-year terms, and the third place finisher wins a two-year term. In that way, a majority of the commission can be replaced in any election. No term limits exist.
The City Commission elects a Mayor and Vice-Mayor annually at the first meeting in April in even numbered years and at the second meeting in April in odd numbered years.
The City Commission passes resolutions and ordinances, establishes policies for the City, approves the budget and hires the City Manager.
The City of Lawrence is a member city of the League of Kansas Municipalities and the National League of Cities. The city does not employ lobbyists to lobby specifically on the city's behalf. The city pays annual dues of approximately $24,000 to the League of Kansas Municipalities and $7,600 to the National League of Cities (dues based on population). The city's annual vendor payments can be found online.