LOCAL GOVERNMENT

American mayors
and their salaries
By City Mayors Research*

American mayors and their salaries
ON THIS PAGE: American local government ||| Forms of US local government ||| Salaries paid to US mayors ||| Democrats control most large US cities ||| Women mayors of large American cities ||| Mayors of largest American cities and their salaries |||

ON OTHER PAGES:
American cities of violence ||| New York's Borough presidents ||| Corrupt US mayors ||| American mayors defend women's right to abortion ||| Mass killings in American cities ||| German mayors ||| Salaries of British mayors ||| Salaries of Italian mayors ||| Salaries of Japanese mayors ||| US Supreme Court versus City Halls ||| Women mayors in the US ||| Women mayors in Europe ||| Mayors remember The Queen


American local government
February 2022: There are some 19,500 municipal governments in the United States. Many small towns use the council-manager system (most counties are run this way) and those that don’t, have a weak mayor-council system. Almost all large US cities have strong mayor systems. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less (varies between states) are not allowed to incorporate and are overseen by the county government.

Mayors, and the city council, are directly elected. The length of a term and the number of term limits are in the city charter, as is the day of election. Most mayoral elections take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with Federal elections, which take place then (as per the US Constitution), but not all municipalities do this.


Forms of US local government
More than eighty per cent of American citizens now live in large cities, suburbs of cities, or towns. People’s needs – from police to sanitation, education to fire protection, housing and public transportation – are seen to, most directly, by city governments. There are, broadly speaking, three forms of it: the mayor-council form the commission form and the city or council-manager form.

In the mayor-council form, which is the oldest of the three, there is (not surprisingly) a mayor and a council consisting of a number of members, sometimes called aldermen. The structure is patterned on that of the state and federal governments. While the mayor is elected at large, the aldermen are sometimes elected, in other cases selected from wards or districts. The mayor is head of the executive branch, presiding over council meetings, appointing chiefs of departments, perhaps with the council’s approval, and is often the budgetary officer of the city. He can veto ordinances passed by the legislative branch, the council.

Two forms of mayor-council rule – the strong-mayor and the weak-mayor – have evolved, although they have the points already enumerated in common. The ‘strong mayor’ can appoint and remove heads of city departments few officials, in that scenario, are elected. He is the preparer of the budget, and has power of veto. Throughout the 1990s, the strong mayor-council form of city government was most popular in cities where the form of government has been decided by the state, and declined in popularity in home rule cities (already mentioned), where the citizens of the city have and exercise the right under state law to decide their form of municipal government.

Where the mayor is a significant policy maker, an administrator may be given responsibility for daily operations. The legislature, in general, adopts the budget and general policy positions, passes resolutions with legislation, and audits the government’s performance.

The mayor in the other kind of mayor-council city government, the ‘weak’ mayor, has more limited powers of appointment, removal and veto, and the elected officials and boards are more numerous. The council’s more extensive legal powers preclude his being a chief executive in any truly meaningful sense.

The commission form of city government in the United States combines, in one group of usually at least three, and often five or seven, officials, the executive and legislative dimensions. It is also, sometimes, called the Galveston Plan, after the town in Texas where it originated in 1901 (and which has since abandoned it). All members are elected, and each commissioner is responsible for at least one city department. One of them is the chairperson and may be called the mayor, but he or she has no extra powers. Historically the commission form is regarded as an important manifestation of the impulse in the direction of efficiency through employment of experts, but others have seen that tendency in a negative light – as a movement depriving those without any particular ‘expertise’ – the working class, in other words – of their influence.

It has also been seen as a stage in the development of the city manager or council-manager form of municipal government. Commissions whose members all have different interests but equal powers have a predictable predisposition to unresolved disagreement. Bringing in a business manager was, and has increasingly been (the commission plan has rarely been initiated since the First World War), seen as the solution. The city manager has most executive powers, including those pertaining to law enforcement and service provision. He carries out the decisions of the elected council, who decide on ordinances and policy, and he, again, produces the city budget. He is thus not elected, but hired, and has no term of office, continuing in his or her role while it meets with the requirements of the council.

Yet other forms of local government in the United States include the town meeting, the representative town meeting, the township, the borough and the village.

Town meetings are largely a phenomenon of New England states. As often as necessary, but at least once a year, a town’s registered voters meet, in open session, to elect officers, debate issues and pass laws. Practical issues such as taxes, budget and building and road construction and repair are decided. The board officers are called ‘selectmen’, board of supervisors, town council, or something similar.

The representative town meeting is very like the town meeting system, except that, while all citizens may attend meetings and take part in the debates, the right to vote belongs only to the (large) number chosen to be representatives.

In a township, there is usually a mayor and three, four or five committee members, who are elected, and who hold all legislative powers not held by the mayor. An administrator may be appointed to discharge executive functions.

A borough’s mayor and six members of council are elected, and the mayor only votes to break ties. The council is the legislature, and the mayor appoints officers. In a village, there is, usually, a board of trustees with five elected members, one of whom has mayoral powers.


Salaries paid to American mayors
Salaries paid by large US cities to their mayors vary greatly. The Mayor of San Francisco (population 837,000) receives more than $350,000 per annum, while Oklahoma City (population 611,000) pays its mayor only $24,000 a year. Mayors who earn more than $200,000 pa include those of Los Angeles, New York City, Houston, Oakland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Diego and Washington DC. Among the lowest paid mayors, in addition to the Mayor of Oklahoma City, are those of Charlotte, Forth Worth, Virginia Beach, Bakersfield and Tuscon. In addition to their annual salaries mayors can expect to receive a city-provided vehicle, health insurance and pension contributions. These are common benefits for mayors who work full-time in large and mid-size cities.


Democrats control most large US cities
Following the November 2021 elections, some 70 per cent of the 84 largest US cities are governed by Democrat mayors. Republican mayors rule in 20 per cent of US cities, while some ten per cent of mayors of large cities describe themselves as independent. The Democrat dominance is even more pronounced in very large cities. The party of President Joe Biden controls 83 per cent of the top 30 American metropoles, with the Republicans in charge in 10 per cent of cities. None of America’s largest ten cities has a Republican mayor.


Women mayors in the US
More than two thirds of large US cities are still governed by male mayors. While only 30 per cent of the top 84 American cities have female mayors, women in the US have been much more successful in being elected to a city’s highest office than in Europe, where less than 17 per cent of cities have female city leaders.


Mayors of the largest
US cities and their salaries


City; state; population
Mayor
Previous jobs
Mayoral salary paid by city (year)
Albuquerque
New Mexico
556,000
Tim Keller (Mr);
Democrat; Since 2017; Term ends 2025
State senator from 2009 to 2014; State auditor from 2015 to 2017
$125,008
(2018)
Anaheim;
California
345,000
Harry Sidhu (Mr);
Republican; Since 2018; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 2004 to 2012
$28,200
(2020)
Anchorage
Alaska
301,000
David Bronson (Mr)
Republican; Since2021; Term ends 2024
Lieutenant colonel in the Alaska Air National Guard; Served in the military for 24 years
$145,400
(2021)
Arlington
Texas
380,000
Jim Ross (Mr)
Independent; Since 2021; Term ends 2023
Served in the US Marine from 1979 to 1983; Lawyer in private practice; Member of the Arlington Police Department
$3,000
(2021)
Atlanta
Georgia
448,000
Andre Dickens (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022; Term ends 2026
Engineering consultant
$183,700
(2021)
Aurora
Colorado
346,000
Mike Coffman (Mr)
Republican; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1989 to 1994; Member of the State Senate from 1994 to 1998; Colorado State Treasurer from 1997 to 2007; 2009 to 2019 Member of the US House of Representatives
$60,200
(2017)
Austin
Texas
885,000
Stephen Adler (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2015; Term ends 2023
Civil rights lawyer; co-founded private legal practice in 1985; Leading lawyer representing women, Hispanics and African Americans on matters relation to equal opportunities in the work place; Chief of Staff to State Senator from 1997 to 2005
$82,400
(2022)
Bakersfield
California
364,000
Karen Goh (Ms)
Republican; Since 2017; Term ends 2025
Senior executive with international publishing company
$32,000
(2020)
Baltimore
Maryland
622,000
Brandon Scott (Mr)
Democrat; since 2020; Term ends 2024
City councillor from 2011 to 2020
$199,000
(2022)
Boston
Massachusetts
646,000
Michelle Wu (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2021; Term ends 2026
Restaurant owner; Co-ordinator for Elisabeth Warren's campaign for the US Senate
$199,000
(2018)
Buffalo
New York
259,000
Byron Brown (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2006; Term ends 2026
New York State senator from 2001 to 2005; City councillor from 1995 to 2001
$105,000
(2018)
Chandler
Arizona
249,000
Kevin Hartke (Mr)
Independent; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Pastor; City councillor from 2010 to 2019
$55,500
(2020)
Charlotte
North Carolina
793,000
Vi Lyles (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2017; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 2013 to 2017
$25,600
(2018)
Chicago
Illinois
2,719,000
Lori Lightfoot (Ms)
Democrat, Since 2019, Term ends 2022
Litigation and conflict lawyer in private practice
$216,000
(2021)
Chula Vista
California
257,000
Mary Salas (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2014; Term ends 2022
Member of the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2010; City councillor from 2012 to 2014
$157,200
(2020)
Cincinnati
Ohio
298,000
Aftab Pureval (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022; Term ends 2026
Lawyer in private practice; Corporate lawyer
$122,300
(2020)
Cleveland
Ohio
390,000
Justin Bibb (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022' GTerm ends 2026
Urban development executive and consultant
$141,000
(2017)
Colorado Springs
Colorado
440,000
John Suthers (Mr)
Republican; Since2015; Term ends 2023
Lawyer in private practice; From 2001 to 2005 US Attorney for Colorado
$114,200
(2021)
Columbus
Ohio
823,000
Andrew Ginther (Mr)
Democrat; since 2015; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2007 to 2015
$181,700
(2018)
Corpus Christi;
Texas
316,000
Paulette Guajardo (Ms)
Independent; Since 2020; Term ends 2022
Founder of community programmes
$18,000
(2021)
Dallas
Texas
1,258,000
Eric Johnson (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Member of the Texas House of Representatives from 2010 to 2019
$80,000
(2019)
Denver
Colorado
649,000
Michael Hancock (Mr);
Democrat: since 2011; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2004 to 2011
$171,200
(2018)
Detroit
Michigan
689,000
Mike Duggan (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2014; Term ends 2026
Deputy executive of Wayne County from 1987 to 2000; Chief Executive of Detroit Medical Center from 2004 to 2012
$189,000
(2021)
Durham
North Carolina
245,000
Elaine O'Neal (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2021; Term ends 2023
Judge of the North Carolina District Court from 1994 to 2011; Judge of the North Carolina Superior Court from 2011 to 2018
$41,500
(2022)
El Paso
Texas
674,000
Oscar Leeser (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2021; Term ends 2025
Mayor of El Paso from 2013 to 2017
$68,000
(2019)
Fort Wayne
Indiana
256,000
Tom Henry (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2008; Terme ends 2024
City councillor from 1983 to 2003; Senior executive in healthcare consulting firm
$132,500
(2020)
Fort Worth
Texas
793,000
Mattie Parker (Ms)
Republican; Since 2021; Term ends 2023
Chief of Staff for previous Forth Worth mayor
$29,000
(2021)
Fresno
California
510,000
Jerry Dyer (Mr)
Republican; Since 2021; Term ends 2025
40-year career in Fresno Police Department, culminating in being appointed Chief of Police
$133,000
(2020)
Greensboro
North Carolina
280,000
Nancy Vaughan (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2013; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 1997 to 2013, with a two-year gap to raise her daughter
$29,300
(2018)
Henderson
Nevada
271,000
Debra March (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2017; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2009 to 2017; Running for Nevada Lieutenant Governor in 2022
$100,000
(2021)
Honolulu
Hawaii
983,000
Rick Blangiardi (Mr)
Independent; Since 2021; Term ends 2025
In television
$186,000
(2021)
Houston
Texas
2,200,00
Sylvester Turner (Mr)
Democrat, Since 2016, Term ends 2024
Lawyer in private practice; Law lecturer
$236,200
(2018)
Indianapolis
Indiana
843,000
Joseph Hogsett (Mr)
Democrat; Since2016; Term ends 2024
US attorney from 2010 to 2014; Lawyer in private practice; Indiana Secretary of State from 1988 to 1994
$95,300
(2017)
Irvine
California
273,000
Farrah Khan (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2020; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 2018 to 2020; Biotech executive
$29,700
(2020)
Jacksonville
Florida
843,000
Lenny Curry (Mr)
Republican; Since 2015; Term ends 2023
Accountant; Chairman of Republican Party of Florida
$180,300
(2018)
Jersey City
New Jersey
257,000
Steven Fulop (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2013; Term ends 2026
Jobs in Wall Street; Member of the US Marine Corps, including service in Iraq
$114,000
(2017)
Kansas City
Missouri
467,000
Quintin Lucas (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Lecturer at the University of Kansas Law School; City councillor from 2015 to 2019
$141,500
(2020)
Laredo
Texas
248,000
Pete Saenz (Mr)
Independent; Since 2014; Term ends 2022
Owner of legal practice
Las Vegas
Nevada
603,000
Carolyn Goodman (Ms)
Independent; Since 2011; Term ends 2024
Founder of the Meadows School; Succeeded her husband Oscar as Mayor of Las Vegas
$211,900
(2019)
Lexington
Kentucky
308,000
Linda Gorton (Ms)
Republican; since 2019; Term ends 2023
Nurse; Vice Mayor of Lexington
$154,400
(2020)
Lincoln
Nebraska
269,000
Leirion Gaylor Baird (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019;Term ends 2023
Management consultant for Fortune 500 companies, working also as a city budget and policy analyst; City councillor from 2013 to 2019
$87,100
(2018)
Long Beach
California
469,000
Robert Garcia (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2014; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 2009 to 2014
$160,000
(2020)
Los Angeles
California
3,884,000
Eric Garcetti (Mr)
Democrat, Since 2013, Next election 2022
Politics lecturer at University of Southern California
$277,000
(2020)
Louisville
Kentucky
610,000
Greg Fischer (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2011; Term ends 2023
Businessman; Company founder
$124,100
(2018)
Madison
Wisconsin
243,000
Satya Rhodes-Conway (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2007 to 2014
$112,000
(2021)
Memphis
Tennessee
653,000
Jim Strickland (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2016; Term ends 2024
City councillor from 2007 to 2015
$170,800
(2018)
Mesa
Arizona
458,000
John Giles (Mr)
Republican; Since 2014; Term ends 2025
Owner of a law firm
$74,700
(2021)
Miami
Florida
418,000
Francis Suarez (Mr)
Republican; since 2017; Term ends 2025
Member of the Miami Board of Commissioners from 2009 to 2017
$150,000
(2018)
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
599,000
Cavalier Johnson (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2021; Term ends 2022
Candidate for Mayor in special election in 2022
$147,300
(2019)
Minneapolis
Minnesota
400,000
Jacob Frey (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2018; Term ends 2026
Lawyer in private practice; City councillor from 2014 to 2018
$126,500
(2018)
Nashville
Tennessee; 634,000
John Cooper (Mr)
Democrat: Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Worked in real estate and corporate finance
$180,000
(2022)
New Orleans
Louisiana
379,000
LaToya Cantrel (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2018; Term ends 2026
Community executive; Charity executive; City councillor from 2012 to 2018
$175,000
(2021)
New York City
New York
8,410,000
Eric Adams (Mr)
Democrat, Since: 2022, Next election 2026
Captain with the New York Police Department
$260,000
(2022)
Newark
New Jersey
278,000
Ras Baraka (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2014; Term ends 2022
Writer; City councillor from 2010 to 2014;
$180,000
(2019)
Norfolk
Virginia
246,000
Kenneth Alexander (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2016; Term ends 2024
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002 to 2012; Member of the Senate from 2012 to 2016
$27,000
(2021)
Oakland
California; 406,000
Elisabeth Schaaf (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2015; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2011 to 2014
$220,000
(2020)
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma; 611,000
David Holt (Mr)
Republican; Since 2018; Term ends 2026
State senator from 2011 to 2018
$24,000
(2022)
Omaha
Nebraska
434,000
Jean Stothert (Ms)
Republican; Since 2013; Term ends 2025
City councillor from 2009 to 2013
$104,400
(2019)
Orlando
Florida
255,000
Budd Dyer (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2003; Term ends 2024
Florida State Senator from 1992 to 2002
$190,700
(2018)
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
1,553,000
James Kenney (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2016; Term ends 2024
City councillor from 1992 to 2015
$218,500
(2018)
Phoenix
Arizona
1,513,000
Kate Gallego (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2025
City councillor from 2013 to 2018
$88,400
(2021)
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
306,000
Edward Gainey (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022; Terme ends 2026
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2013 to 2022
$117,500
(2021)
Plano
Texas
274,000
John Muns (Mr)
Republican; Since 2021; Term ends 2025
For 16 years, member and trustee of the Plano Independent School District Board
$192,200
(2021)
Portland
Oregon
609,000
Ted Wheeler (Mr)
Democrat; Since2017; Term ends 2025
Founder of a number of environmental projects
$143,700
(2018)
Raleigh
North Carolina
432,000
Mary-Ann Baldwin (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2022
City councillor from 2007 to 2018
$27,600
(2021)
Riverside
California
317,000
Patricia Lock Dawson (Ms)
Independent; Since 2012; Term ends 2024
Executive in US Bureau of Land Management; Owner of consultancy
$88,600
(2020)
Sacramento
California; 480,000
Darrell Steinberg (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2016; Term ends 2024
State Senator from 2006 to 2014
$131,400
(2020)
San Antonio
Texas
1,409,000
Ron Nirenberg (Mr)
Independent, Since 2017, Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2013 to 2017
$61,700
(2018)
San Diego
California
1,356,000
Todd Gloria (Mr)
Democrat, Since 2020, Term ends 2024
City councillor from 2008 to 2016
$206,000
(2020)
San Francisco
California
837,000
London Breed (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2018; Term ends 2024
San Francisco Fire Commissioner
$351,000
(2020)
San Jose
California
999,000
Sam Liccardo (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2007; Term ends 2022
District and federal prosecutor
$151,000
(2020)
Santa Ana
California; 334,000
Vincente Sarmiento (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2020; Term ends 2022
Owner of law practice
$18,600
(2020)
Seattle
Washington
652,000
Bruce Harrell (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022; Term ends 2025
City councillor from 2008 to 2020
$150,000
(2022)
St Louis
Missouri
318,000
Tishaura Jones (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2021; Term ends 2025
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 2009 to 2013; Lawyer in private practice
$131,800
(2020)
St Paul
Minnesota
295,000
Melvin Carter (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2018; Term ends 2026
City councillor from 2008 to 2013; Consultant on childhood development
$126,000
(2018)
St Petersburg
Florida
250,000
Kenneth Welch (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2022; Term ends 2026
Accountant with utility company; 20-years service on the St Petersburg County Commission
$181,000
(2017)
Stockton
California
298,000
Kevin Lincoln (Mr)
Republican; Since 2021; Term ends 2024
Served in the US Marine Corp, including on Air Force One
$68,300
(2020)
Tampa
Florida
353,000
Jane Castor (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
Member of the Tampa Police Department for 31 years, including six years as Chief of Police
$160,700
(2018)
Toleda
Ohio
282,000
Wade Kapszukiewicz (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2018; Term ends 2026
Journalist; City councillor from 1999 to 2005; Lucas County treasurer from 2005 to 2018
$136,000
(2021)
Tulsa
Oklahoma
398,000
G T Bynum (Mr)
Republican; Since 2016; Term ends 2024
City councillor from 2008 to 2016; Real estate executive
$105,000
(2020)
Tuscon
Arizona
526,000
Regina Romero (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2019; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2007 to 2019
$42,000
(2020)
Virginia Beach
Virginia
448,000
Bob Dyer (Mr)
Republican; Since 2018; Term ends 2025
Assistant Professor at the School of Government at Regent University
$30,000
(2021)
Washington
District of Columbia; 690,000
Muriel Bowser (Ms)
Democrat; Since 2015; Term ends 2023
City councillor from 2007 to 2015
$200,000
(2018)
Wichita
Kansas
387,000
Brandon Whipple (Mr)
Democrat; Since 2020; Term ends 2024
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives from 2012 to 2020
$91,400
(2018)


*The research was carried out in January and February 2022. Sources include municipal websites, local and state media and other internet resources. Principal authors: Tann vom Hove, Nick Swift and John White


© Copyright: All content of the City Mayors and World Mayor websites are protected by worldwide copyright. Please contact the editor if you wish to use any material from the City Mayors, World Mayor or Women Mayors websites.






The City Mayors Foundation
London SW1
Email

SECTIONS
Local government
Society
Environment
Economy
Finance
Mayors
Health
Transport
Women
RESEARCH
Women mayors in Europe
African American Mayors
American mayors and their salaries
Salaries of Japanese mayors
European mayors: Power and Politics
Capital cities and their mayors
Code of Ethics for mayors
Covid: How cities from around the world were affected