Open main menu

The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of city government in Chicago, Illinois, the third-largest city in the United States. The mayor is responsible for the administration and management of various city departments, submits proposals and recommendations to the Chicago City Council, is active in the enforcement of the city's ordinances, submits the city's annual budget and appoints city officers, department commissioners or directors, and members of city boards and commissions.

Mayor of Chicago
Seal of Chicago, Illinois.png
Seal of the City of Chicago
Lori Lightfoot (2).png
Incumbent
Lori Lightfoot

since May 20, 2019
StyleHer Honor The Honorable
Term length4 years
Inaugural holderWilliam Butler Ogden
Formation1837
SuccessionVice Mayor
Salary$216,210
WebsiteOffice of the Mayor

During sessions of the city council, the mayor serves as the presiding officer. The mayor is not allowed to vote on issues except in certain instances, most notably where the vote taken on a matter before the body results in a tie.

The office of mayor was created when Chicago became a city in 1837.

Appointment powersEdit

The mayor appoints the commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department and superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. He or she also appoints the heads of city departments,[1] the largest of which are the Water Management Department (formed by the consolidation of the former Water Department and Sewer Department under Richard M. Daley) and the Streets & Sanitation Department. He or she also appoints members to the boards of several special-purpose governmental bodies including the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. Under Richard M. Daley, the Illinois legislature granted the mayor power to appoint the governing board and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools and subordinated the district to the mayor; the district had long been an independent unit of government.

The Chicago City Clerk and City Treasurer of Chicago are elected separately, as are the 50 aldermen who form the city council. The mayor is empowered, however, to fill vacancies in any of these 52 elected offices by appointment. In turn, the city council elects one of its own to fill a mayoral vacancy.

Election and successionEdit

The mayor of Chicago is elected by popular vote every four years, on the last Tuesday in February. A run-off election, in the event that no candidate garners more than fifty percent of the vote, is held on the first Tuesday in April. The election is held on a non-partisan basis. Chicago is the largest city in the United States not to limit the term of service for its mayor.

In accordance with Illinois law, the city council elects a vice-mayor who serves as interim mayor in the event of a vacancy in the office of the mayor or the inability of the mayor to serve due to illness or injury, until the city council elects one of its members acting mayor or until the mayoral term expires. As of May 2019, the current vice mayor is Tom Tunney.[2] However, if a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor with more than 28 months remaining in the mayoral term and at least 130 days before the next general municipal election, then a special election must be held to choose a new mayor to serve out the remainder of the term at that general municipal election; if a vacancy occurs with less than 28 months remaining in the mayoral term or less than 130 days before the next general municipal election, then the acting mayor serves as mayor until the mayoral term expires.

In the absence of the mayor during meetings of the city council, the president pro tempore of the city council, who is a member of and elected by the city council, acts as presiding officer. Unlike the mayor, the president pro tempore can vote on all legislative matters.

HistoryEdit

The first mayor was William Butler Ogden. Two sets of father and son have been elected Mayor of Chicago: Carter Harrison, Sr. and Carter Harrison, Jr. as well as Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley. Carter Harrison, Jr. was the first mayor to have been born in the city. The first woman to hold the office was Jane Byrne. The first black mayor was Harold Washington. As an interim mayor, David Duvall Orr had the shortest mayoral term. Richard M. Daley was originally elected in 1989 and re-elected for the sixth time in 2007. In September 2010, Daley announced that he would not seek reelection for a seventh term as mayor. On December 26, 2010, Daley became Chicago's longest-serving mayor, surpassing his father's record.[3]

By charter, Chicago has a "weak-mayor" system, in which most of the power is vested in the city council. In practice, however, the mayor of Chicago has long been one of the most powerful municipal chief executives in the nation. Unlike mayors in most other weak-mayor systems, he or she has the power to draw up the budget. For most of the 20th century, before the decline of patronage and the mayor's office becoming officially nonpartisan in 1999, the mayor was the de facto leader of the city's Democratic Party, and had great influence over the ward organizations.[4]

List of mayorsEdit

The mayoral term in Chicago was one year from 1837 through 1863, when it was changed to two years. In 1907, it was changed again, this time to four years. Until 1861, municipal elections were held in March. In that year, legislation moved them to April. In 1869, however, election day was changed to November, and terms expiring in April of that year were changed. In 1875, election day was moved back to April by the city's vote to operate under the Cities and Villages Act of 1872.

 
William B. Ogden was the first mayor of Chicago.
 
Joseph Medill, 26th mayor of Chicago, was the first foreign-born mayor.
 
Harold Washington, 51st mayor of Chicago, was the first African American mayor.
 
Richard M. Daley, 54th mayor of Chicago, was the longest-serving mayor (22 years).
 
Lori Lightfoot, 56th and current Mayor of Chicago, is the first African American Woman, and first openly LGBTQ mayor of Chicago.

45 men and two women (Jane Byrne, 1979–1983, Lori Lightfoot, 2019–), have held the office. Richard M. Daley (1989–2011) was the longest serving mayor, and Harold Washington (1983–1987) was the first African American mayor. The first Irish Catholic mayor was John Patrick Hopkins (1893–1895), and Rahm Emanuel (2011–2019) is the only Jewish American to have served as mayor. Current mayor Lori Lightfoot (sworn in May 2019) is the city's first African American woman and first openly LGBTQ mayor.

#Consecutive terms[5] #Mayor (prior non-consecutive terms in parens) Mayor Term start Term end Terms Years   Party
1 1 William B. Ogden 1837 1838 1 1 Democratic
2 2 Buckner S. Morris 1838 1839 1 1 Whig
3 3 Benjamin W. Raymond 1839 1840 1 1 Whig
4 4 Alexander Loyd 1840 1841 1 1 Democratic
5 5 Francis C. Sherman 1841 1842 1 1 Democratic
6 (3) Benjamin W. Raymond 1842 1843 1 1 Whig
7 6 Augustus Garrett 1843 1844 1 1 Democratic
8 7 Alson Sherman 1844 1845 1 1 None
9 (6) Augustus Garrett 1845 1846 1 1 Democratic
10 8 John P. Chapin 1846 1847 1 1 Whig
11 9 James Curtiss 1847 1848 1 1 Democratic
12 10 James H. Woodworth 1848 1850 2 2 None
13 (9) James Curtiss 1850 1851 1 1 Democratic
14 11 Walter S. Gurnee 1851 1853 2 2 Democratic
15 12 Charles McNeill Gray 1853 1854 1 1 Democratic
16 13 Isaac L. Milliken 1854 1855 1 1 Democratic
17 14 Levi Boone 1855 1856 1 1 American
18 15 Thomas Dyer 1856 1857 1 1 Democratic
19 16 John Wentworth 1857 1858 1 1 Republican
20 17 John C. Haines 1858 1860 2 2 Democratic
21 (16) John Wentworth 1860 1861 1 1 Republican
22 18 Julian S. Rumsey 1861 1862 1 1 Republican
23 (5) Francis C. Sherman 1862 1865 2 2 Democratic
24 19 John B. Rice 1865 1869 2 4 Republican
25 20 Roswell B. Mason 1869 1871 1 2 Citizens
26 21 Joseph Medill 1871 1873 1 2 Republican (Dry)
Lester L. Bond
(acting)
1873 1873 14 12 Republican
27 22 Harvey Doolittle Colvin 1873 1875 1 2 Republican (Wet)
28 23 Monroe Heath 1876 1879 2 4 Republican
29 24 Carter Harrison Sr. 1879 1887 4 8 Democratic
30 25 John A. Roche 1887 1889 1 2 Republican
31 26 DeWitt C. Cregier 1889 1891 1 2 Democratic
32 27 Hempstead Washburne 1891 1893 1 2 Republican
33 (24) Carter Harrison Sr. 1893 1893 14 12 Democratic
34 28 George Bell Swift
(interim mayor)
1893 1893 112 16 Republican
35 29 John P. Hopkins 1893 1895 23 3 Democratic
36 (28) George Bell Swift 1895 1897 1 2 Republican
37 30 Carter Harrison Jr. 1897 1905 4 8 Democratic
38 31 Edward F. Dunne 1905 1907 1 2 Democratic
39 32 Fred A. Busse 1907 1911 1 4 Republican
40 (30) Carter Harrison Jr. 1911 1915 1 4 Democratic
41 33 William H. Thompson 1915 1923 2 8 Republican
42 34 William E. Dever 1923 1927 1 4 Democratic
43 (33) William H. Thompson 1927 1931 1 4 Republican
44 35 Anton Cermak 1931 1933 12 2 Democratic
45 36 Frank J. Corr
(acting mayor)
1933 1933 Democratic
46 37 Edward J. Kelly 1933 1947 3 12 14 Democratic
47 38 Martin H. Kennelly 1947 1955 2 8 Democratic
48 39 Richard J. Daley 1955 1976 5 38 21 Democratic
49 40 Michael A. Bilandic 1976 1979 58 2 13 Democratic
50 41 Jane Byrne 1979 1983 1 4 Democratic
51 42 Harold Washington 1983 1987 1 18 4 712 Democratic
52 43 David Orr
(acting mayor)[6]
1987 1987 Democratic
53 44 Eugene Sawyer 1987 1989 1748 1 12 Democratic
54 45 Richard M. Daley 1989 2011 5 12 22 Democratic1
55 46 Rahm Emanuel 2011 2019 2 8 Democratic1
56 47 Lori Lightfoot 2019 Democratic1


Deceased/murdered in office.
1 Since 1999, mayoral elections have officially been nonpartisan. A 1995 Illinois law stipulated that "candidates for mayor . . . no longer would run under party labels in Chicago." However, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot are known to be Democrats.[7]

Living mayorsEdit

As of 2018, four mayors of Chicago are still living, the oldest of whom is Richard M. Daley.[8] The most recent former mayor to die was Jane Byrne (1979–1983), on November 14, 2014. The most recently serving mayor to have died, however, was Eugene Sawyer (1987–1989), on January 19, 2008.[9]

Name Mayoral term Date of birth
David Orr November 1987 – December 1987 (1944-10-04) October 4, 1944 (age 74)
Richard M. Daley 1989–2011 (1942-04-24) April 24, 1942 (age 77)
Rahm Emanuel 2011–2019 (1959-11-29) November 29, 1959 (age 59)
Lori Lightfoot 2019–present (1962-08-04) August 4, 1962 (age 57)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pratt, Gregory (May 22, 2018). "Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces key hires for her new administration, some Rahm Emanuel appointees will stay". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-22 – via MSN.
  2. ^ Spielman, Fran (2019-05-17). "Lightfoot shakes up the City Council". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2019-05-22. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  3. ^ "Daley now Chicago mayor 1 day longer than father" Archived 2011-01-01 at the Wayback Machine Associated Press December 26, 2010
  4. ^ "Government, City of Chicago". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-03-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Chicago Mayors, 1837-2007". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  7. ^ Hardy, Thomas (July 7, 1995). "Gov. Edgar To End City Partisan Votes". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  8. ^ "Chicago Mayors". Chicago Public Library. Archived from the original on 23 October 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Mayor Eugene Sawyer Biography". Archived from the original on 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2016-10-08.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit