In the OCA, what is the relationship between the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan? Is it like a balance of power idea or is it like a parish council where (presumably) the priest administers through his inner circle?
I have a feeling that the relationship is similar to other jurisdictions that have similar set-ups. The OCA and the GOA both have common governance at the top: local primate, synod of bishops, and a clergy-lay council (for the OCA: Metropolitan, OCA Synod, and Metropolitan Council; for the GOA: Archbishop, Eparchial Synod, and Archdiocesan Council). In both cases the primate is the president of the synod (which has its own prerogatives), a diocesan bishop, and the chairman of the council. He acts as a ruling bishop over his own diocese, and is able to speak on behalf of the jurisdiction and synod in many cases.
The synod is the highest spiritual authority over the jurisdiction (in the GOA the Eparchial Synod maintains most of these rights, with some being passed up to Constantinople), and makes decisions on spiritual, canonical, liturgical, and other related issues.
The Council exercises authority on behalf of all the clergy and laity as the second-highest administrative body of the Churches (for both churches the national conference - the OCA's All-American Council, and the GOA's Clergy-Laity Congress - is the highest administrative authority), acting as an interim administrator of the jurisdiction between national conferences and exercising regular authority for the jurisdiction. All members of the synod are automatically members of the council, as are many key clergy and lay members of the jurisdiction.
Usually these councils have executive committees that meet more often than the council, and which thus exercise interim day-to-day authority, subject to ratification of the council in many cases. Membership in the executive committee is usually comprised of members of the synod and laymen who either live close to the jurisdiction's main offices, or who have the means to travel regularly to said offices, as the executive committees usually meet monthly at least.
I hope this clears things up.