Elected US mayors: Beverly O'Neill former mayor of Long Beach, California and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
About us | Quiénes somos |
A propos de nous | Über uns |
African American Mayors
US local government structures
Elected US mayors
Corrupt US mayors
US 2013 mayoral elections
US 2012 mayoral elections
Power relations in US cities
Mayors and political parties
Council manager v Strong mayors
US local government fragmentation
For and against term limits
Politically neglected US cities
US election 08: Urban issues
US cities' legal powers
US local government
Rochester empowers people
Council managers in the US
Local government mergers
NC local government finance
US local government
Federated local government
City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa | Events |
Use Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More
City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world and questions them about their achievements, policies and aims. More
Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa are competing for the annual World Mayor Award. More
City Mayors ranks the world’s largest as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More
City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More
City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More
City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More
City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More
City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More
City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More
City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More
City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More
City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More
City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More
City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More
City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More
City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More
City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More
City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More
City Mayors invites readers to write short stories about people in cities around the world. More
City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More
City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More
City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More
City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More
Elected mayors are more
effective, says US study
By Tony Favro, USA Editor
16 August 2008: An historical study of mayors in US big cities finds that mayors who are popularly elected are more effective than those who come to office through other means. The study, by Andrew D. McNitt* of Eastern Illinois University, examined the performance in office of 846 mayors of 19 US cities -- including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, and Houston between 1820 and 1995.
The study describes performance in office as “what mayors do or are believed to have done during their terms in office. It is what they both claim credit for, and are held responsible for. In short, it is what happens while they are in charge, and as such, it is a measurable variable which is conceptually distinct from… the unanswerable questions of motive and the problems associated with normative judgments as to who are the best or worst mayors.”
The McNitt study measures mayoral accomplishments in three public policy areas: (1) physical and organizational development of their cities, such as constructing public works, annexing land, instituting urban renewal programs, developing land use planning, and professionalizing their cities’ bureaucracies; (2) conflict resolution and law enforcement, including all efforts to control riots, resolve community disputes, regulate public behavior, and modernize police forces; and, (3) provision of social services, including building hospitals and schools, providing housing, health care and public assistance, and intervening in the marketplace to reduce the costs to consumers of transportation and energy.
Measuring performance in these three policy areas provides a relatively simple and straightforward indication of what a mayor has done.
The author selected a long time range (1820-1995) to determine if there have been substantial behavioral changes in the kinds of activities in which mayors engage. Seeking information over such a long period of time, however, prevented the author from using budgetary indications of mayors’ accomplishments. Instead, the author examined the historical record, including newspapers and local history collections.
The study notes that correlations between the three policy areas are weak. In other words, accomplishments in one area are generally unrelated to accomplishments in another area. This implies that there is more than one kind of successful mayor. There are those who specialize in making physical improvements; others who concentrate on providing human services; and others who focus on law enforcement. Very few American mayors are credited with success in all three areas.
There are also minor correlations between mayoral governance and political party affiliation, political style, religious orientation, and previous professions. For example, mayors who implement improvements in law enforcement are more likely to be lawyers and Republicans. Mayors who effectively promote the physical development of their cities are more likely to be Catholic, but not necessarily Democrats, the traditional party affiliation of American Catholics. They are also more likely to govern cities with relatively few foreign-born residents and relatively more African-American residents.
The strongest indicator of success across all policy areas and all personal traits is election to office. Mayors who are not initially elected by popular referendum are less likely to have accomplishments in any of the three policy areas.
In the US, the unelected mayor is often regarded as a caretaker, not a city executive. In other words, mayors who lack an initial electoral connection with their constituencies often begin their careers under a cloud. They are frequently considered ceremonial figures, and little is expected from this class of office holders.
Certainly, historical data cannot fully capture the underlying and unique political realities which each mayor faces. Accomplishments in office are closely related to mayoral preferences and skills, the public’s demand for services, government structure, and the political and economic circumstances mayors encounter.
What this study illustrates is that a mayor’s capacity to implement change regardless of the underlying circumstances -- is greater when the mayor is directly elected by the people.
McNitt, A. D., Performance in Office of Big City Mayors: 1820-1995. (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April, 2006.) www.allacademic.com/meta/p138841_index.html
The best Mayors for Stronger | Fairer | Greener cities. Elect your candidate for the 20/21 World Mayor Prize and Honours. The Prize has been awarded since 2004.