The City of Cottage Grove's governmental structure can be described as a Mayor / Council / Administrator form of local government which vests authority in an elected City Council, which, in turn, hires an appointed executive.

The City Council is composed of four members elected from the City on a non-partisan basis to serve overlapping four-year terms.

The Mayor is elected at-large to serve a four-year term as the officer who presides over City Council meetings and as the official head of the City for legislative and ceremonial purposes.

The City Administrator is appointed by the City Council and serves at the pleasure of that body.