Garrett Park was incorporated as a Town in 1898. Its form of government follows a strong-mayor structure as defined by the following characteristics specified in the Town Charter: The Mayor and Council members are elected separately by the residents and hold separate and distinct powers and functions of Town governance. The Mayor serves as chief executive officer and oversees the administrative operations of the Town government, responsible for executing the Town's budget and operations. The Mayor appoints with approval by the Council a Clerk-Treasure whose role as chief financial officer is responsible for formulating the Town's fiscal year budget under supervision of the Mayor for Council review and adoption. The Mayor may also appoint with Council approval a professional manager to manage the day to day duties involving Town operations. See Forms of Municipal Government in Maryland.
The Council is the governing body, comprising five elected officials. All legislative powers of the Town are vested in the Council, consisting of five Council members. Each is elected for a two–year term, with two members elected in even-numbered years, three in odd-numbered years. As the legislative body, the Council sets policy by ordinance or resolution and adopts the annual budget by approving the allocation of appropriated funds by ordinance. All executive powers of the Town are vested in the Mayor who is elected separately by the Town (in the even-numbered years) and also serves a two-year term. Elections are held on the first Monday in May. The Mayor heads the executive branch and is responsible for the administrative and financial operations of the Town government, including submission of the annual budget to the Council. The Town manager, under supervision and direction by the Mayor, is responsible for managing the Town's daily operations and Town office staff. This professional also performs the duties of Clerk-Treasure, including the formulation and execution of the Town budget and administrative support to the Mayor and Council during Town Council meetings.
Social services, schools, courts, police, fire, building inspections and planning and zoning services are provided by Montgomery County. Garrett Park has an Overlay Zone with separate regulations for building in addition to Montgomery County.
Garrett Park lies within Montgomery County Council District 1, Maryland General Assembly District 18 and U.S. House of Representatives District 8.