A mayor may be seen as the chief executive officer of the city. But what are her/his duties?
This is something everyone in the city - from resident to employee - should know. Understanding what is required of a mayor helps her/him set the stage for the well-being of the city.
It also helps employees better understand what the mayor is trying to accomplish and how they can best assist in working toward the common vision.
Mayors have five key responsibilities, no matter the city’s size or location. Only the mayor - who has a holistic view of the city - can take on these duties.
1/ Own the vision
A vision is a desired end-state and should be a one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from the city’s work. Without a vision, the city is merely a collection of people pursuing individual goals, guided by their own values.
I envision a city with the highest quality of life and lowest cost of living in the Midwest. This will be accomplished by putting the right people in the right seats.
Residents first need to feel safe and secure, then be given an opportunity to earn a living in an environment where they are engaged with equality and, lastly, be invited to create and improve the public spaces around them. My proven application of this strategy is the number one reason you should hire me as your mayor.
2/ Provide the proper resources
Only the mayor can perform the task of balancing resources - the two most important ones being capital and people. The mayor must manage the budget and allocate resources. Putting the right people in the right positions with the right training is probably the single most important thing a mayor can do.
As city department head, I have 14 years of experience balancing an annual budget of $1.5 million and successfully securing an additional $41 million in grant funding. I have built a team of individuals and have been responsible for placing them in the right roles and ensuring they have the right certifications and training necessary to do their job well.
3/ Build the culture
Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. It all comes down to how things get done and influences the entirety of the employee experience and thus the customer experience.
My number one goal over the past 14 years as city department head has been to make my team feel safe and respected, enabling them to perform at their best. My leadership style is one in which I lead out of love, not fear - as a coach, not a dictator - building unity by relying on goodwill, not on authority - I help develop people, not use them and I say "Let's go," not you go.
4/ Make good decisions
One minute the mayor may be discussing a new ordinance, the next an HR issue - and then along comes a legal dispute. It's impossible for anyone to be an expert in all aspects of the city, yet the mayor is the person tasked with making the decisions.
Many problems I have encountered over the years as city department head have required a solution that ended up affecting multiple departments, businesses and/or neighborhoods. My leadership style begins by getting the right people to the table to ensure successful collaboration occurs. Ultimately, as department head, the buck stops with me and I have had to make some tough decisions through the years.
5/ Oversee and deliver the city’s performance
Everyone agrees that the mayor is ultimately responsible for the city’s well-being. To be successful, she or he must take an active role in moving the city forward. This requires being in touch with the core city functions to ensure the proper execution of tasks. The mayor sets the bar for the level of performance to be reached, regardless of the city’s size, circumstances or budget.
Some leaders are content to sit back and let the job arrive at their doorstep. I, however, lead my day instead of allowing the day to lead me. I have a clear picture of how to fulfill the necessary functions of a city - I have worked inter-departmentally for 14 years now - I know how to prioritize and find balance when dealing with the onslaught of issues a mayor faces on a daily basis.