The city's elected mayor is Mark Meredith
Stoke-on-Trent could keep an elected mayor even if the public votes "No" in a referendum on its political system.
The government has said the city's current system of an elected mayor and council manager has not worked.
It can choose either a council leader with cabinet or an elected mayor with cabinet.
A referendum would then be held on its preferred option but if the public rejects this, the fallback option would be an elected mayor and cabinet system.
A council report said a barrister had advised that this would be the case if either of the two options were rejected by the public.
The council has been told it must introduce a new political system by May 2009 and a referendum is likely to be held in October this year.
It is currently the only authority in England to have a mayor and council manager.
The elected mayor Mark Meredith and chief executive officer Steve Robinson make all policy decisions which are then scrutinised by the rest of the council.
Last month a report by the Governance Commission said the people of the city had been "short changed" by its politicians.
It said the issue of which political system the city used was less important than "serious underlying issues" such as the public being disengaged from local politics.
A political commentator has described the voting system as a 'farce'