La Crosse recently had a referendum on having a professional manager/administrator. The current county Administrator, Steve O'Malley has taken some heat for advocating for the form of government. The paper ran a story saying Steve asked for an ethics ruling. One could argue that his professional code of ethics from the ICMA requires of him to advocate for professional management.
This research concludes that professional management delivers better fiscal outcomes for cities:
This article however, counters that the evidence is not always so clear.