What Does a Mayor Do?Three smiling students with backpacks and tablets stand in front of a bright yellow backround.

Becoming mayor of your city is exciting — and we want you to be ready!

It’s the mayor’s job to listen to residents and help the city meet its goals. Mayors must love where they live and be willing to work hard to make their city the best it can be.

In some cities, the mayor leads council meetings and votes like other council members. In other cities, the mayor plans a budget too.

Most mayors do not get paid, but some receive a small allowance for the many hours they spend working as mayor.

Tips for being a great mayor

There are all different kinds of mayors! There are also things that great mayors have in common.

To be a great mayor you must:

  • Read information and learn about city projects from residents, business owners, and city staff before making decisions.
  • Lead city council meetings so the public can understand what the city does, and so city council members and staff can discuss projects.
  • Encourage people to listen when others are talking and make sure they do not bully each other. Sometimes residents or council members disagree, and that’s OK! But they must do so respectfully.
  • Make tough decisions about what projects make sense for the city. This could mean saying “no” to important things that the city can’t afford or saying “yes” to ideas that haven’t been tried before.
  • Be positive and inspire others to work together.

How to become a mayor

Do you have what it takes to be a great mayor? When you’re an adult here are the steps you’ll take to become a mayor or council member:

  1. Go to city hall and give your name to the city clerk to be on the ballot.
  2. Let residents know what you plan to do while in office and why they should support you. Friends and family can help you get the word out.
  3. Receive the most votes in your election.
  4. Go to your first city council meeting in January and get to work!