White Salmon operates as a Code City with a Mayor-Council form of government.  The five city Council Members and one Mayor are part-time positions, each elected to four year terms, and are paid small stipends for their efforts..

City Council meets in Chambers on the first and third Wednesdays of the month where they are responsible for approving the City ordinances and giving direction and approval for the actions of the Mayor and City staff. Each councillor is also the head City representative on one or more standing City committees and are responsible for reporting back to City Council anything of note from their respective committees. The City Council contracts a part-time City Attorney who guides the legal compliance of all City discussions, decisions, and actions.

The Mayor is the elected head of the administrative arm of City government. The Mayor is ultimately responsible for implementing the City ordinances and overseeing the work of City staff. The Mayor is directly supported by the salaried City Administrator/Director of Public Works who is responsible for day-to-day oversight and running of the City departments and functions. The City Administrator oversees the opertions of City Hall employees and functions, including the City Clerk, Finance/Treasurer Clerk, Planning Clerk, and Utilities Clerk. The City Adminstrator also oversees the Public Works Department, where the day-to-day poerations are supervised by the Public Works Operations Manager.

The City of White Salmon shares with the City of Bingen a full-time Police Department with a full-time Police Chief and several officers.

The City has a Volunteer Fire Department with a paid Fire Chief. The Fire Department operates several fire vehicles and supports the efforts of other local and state fire departments.