Sterling’s Government operates under a Council/Manager form of government. Council members are elected to a four-year overlapping term. The Mayor is elected to a two-year term. The City Manager is appointed by Council and serves at the Council's pleasure.
The City of Sterling relies upon various advisory boards for recommendations concerning City development. These boards include the Planning Commission, Public Works Board, Parks, Library and Recreation Board, Personnel Board, Sterling Urban Renewal Authority Board and Sterling Housing Authority (the final two being quasi-municipal boards).