Urban sustainability policy provides opportunities for expanding global efforts for climate change mitigation. Yet local governments may not commit to make such policy efforts. It is well recognized that internal and external factors in state and local governments can be potential drivers. Less recognized is that green energy policy adoption can also be impacted by competitive federalism, under which state laws might influence the likelihood of local adoption. Drawing on prior studies on inter-governmental interactions and managerial turnover, we hypothesize the effect of intergovernmental influence, managerial turnover, and their interactions on city adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Results of the multilevel regression model indicate that state influence via regulatory or financial tools can encourage city sustainable energy consumption and production, while managerial turnover can inhibit these conditions, but the negative impacts of managerial turnover can be reversed when the successors are recruited externally. Our tests support the existence of both local government free-riding and city mobilization to enact more green policies with externally hired city managers, thereby helping us to distinguish the impact of competitive federalism in local energy policy.