How Mayors Work

Organization of a Mayor's Office

A mayor's office can contain a large number of offices and roles or can be quite simple depending on the size of the city and the amount of responsibility that the mayor has. In larger cities, the mayor will need more assistance with managing city departments, dealing with issues of politics and policy, as well as daily duties. In this case, a long list of department heads may be established under the mayor.

In New York City, the mayor's office consists of numerous deputy mayors, each overseeing a specific area of the city. The deputy mayor departments include health and human services, economic development, education and community development, operations and government affairs. The New York City mayor also has a first deputy mayor, who acts as a counselor, press secretary, communication director and senior advisor. The first deputy mayor has the largest responsibility and oversees many administrative, operational and policy procedures, and acts on the mayor's behalf when the mayor is absent.


In smaller cities, like Casper, Wyo., which uses a council-manager system, the mayor does not have an official office with staff. Instead, the local government is run by all of the council members and a city manager. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has director positions set up under the mayor's office to deal with specific issues within the city. The city has a director of research to head up a gang reduction and youth development program. Positions like this may be temporary, but they still fall under the direct supervision of the mayor's office.

No two mayors' offices may be alike because the needs of each city, the authority structure and local politics are different. As cities expand or new problems arise, the organization of the office adapts to meet the needs of its citizens.

On the next page, we'll learn find out how mayors of large cities gather together every year to create new urban policies and present them to the national government.