Garrett Park was incorporated as a Town in 1898. Garrett Park operates under a hybrid model combining elements from the Strong-Mayor and Council-Manager forms of government: The Mayor and Council members are elected separately by the residents and hold separate powers and functions of Town governance. The Mayor serves as chief executive officer and oversees the administration of the Town government, supervising and directing the Town Manager, a professional appointed by the Mayor with approval by the Council and who manages the day to day operations of the Town. See Forms of Municipal Government in Maryland.
The Town Council is the governing body, comprising the Mayor and the Council. 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. 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 financial administration of the Town government, including submission of the annual budget to the Council. The Town Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Town government, including the formulation and execution of the Town budget, manages staff, and performs the duties of Clerk-Treasure for the Mayor and meetings of the Town Council. 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.
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.