Every city and town, no matter its size, has someone who represents the citizens of the community. The person in this position is called a mayor, and the primary responsibility is to act as the official head of the city. The salary of a mayor varies greatly. Salaries mostly depend on the size of the community, ranging from a few thousand dollars per year to hundreds of thousands.
Large Market Salaries
Mayors of major U.S. cities can expect to earn six-digit salaries. The mayor of New York City earns $225,000 per year, as mandated by the New York City Charter. In Los Angeles, the mayor earns an annual salary of $218,000, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Chicago holds third place on the mayor salary list – in 2006, former mayor Richard M. Daley earned $216,210, according to Chicago Magazine
Small City Salaries
As the cities get smaller, generally, the mayor’s salary shrinks as well. In Bakersfield, California, the annual salary of the mayor is $26,048, with a population of over 333,000, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Decatur, Illinois, is the sixth-largest city in Illinois with a population of just over 77,000 in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its mayoral salary is just $8,000 per year, according to the city's website.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is a unique case. He has amassed great wealth operating the media company that bears his name. he was first elected mayor in 2001, winning re-elections in 2005 and 2009. The salary of the New York City mayor is supposed to be $225,000, plus residence at Gracie Mansion. However, Bloomberg only accepts a $1 per year salary and does not live at Gracie Mansion.
Influences on Salary
Like most jobs, market size will usually determine how much a mayor is paid. Those working in big cities will get higher amounts of pay. Big-city mayors are often high-profile roles – they are expected to be better leaders on a bigger stage and have higher levels of influence. In small communities, it is not uncommon for the mayor – and councilors – to have a second job, with the duties of the position being fulfilled during free time.
- San Diego Union-Tribune; Chula Vista Mayoral Pay Stands Out; Aaron Burgin; May 16, 2011
- City of Decatur, Illinois: Decatur Mayor & City Council Job Descriptions
- Chicago Magazine; Who Makes What - Salaries List
- City of New York: New York City Charter; December 18, 2009
- U.S. Census Bureau: Decatur (City), Illinois
- CityMayors.com: Michael Bloomberg
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images