What It Means To Be a Mayor
What, exactly, is a mayor?
The word derives from the Latin maior, which means greater. So, mayors are greater than all municipal leaders combined ... at least in Latin.
In merry old England, the role mayor evolved from the feudal lord’s bailiff.
Now, mayors are, above all else, leaders - earnest and able representatives of cities and towns, an important part of the municipal family.
Recently, I came across two items that put the office of mayor in a broader perspective. One of my favorite columnists, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, wrote a great op-ed,
“I Want To Be A Mayor.” It is about the great leaders of America’s cities and the good things that are happening at the local level in contrast to the morass in Washington. He references the Katz/Bradley book, The Metropolitan Revolution, which deals with metro regions (see my recent blog post, Municipalities Matter … and so do metros) and how cities and towns are becoming the new engines of democracy in this country.
Then there is an article by the prolific writer of ideas, Firestone Mayor Chad Auer. He talks about the importance of being the least known person in Firestone at the end of his term next year. I love it because, in fact, sometimes, a mayor who is the least known person in town exhibits the best leadership - not seeking credit, but working quietly behind the scenes to get the job done.
How do you view (or exhibit) leadership as mayor, or in the municipal world in general? I would love to hear from you - especially if you are the least known person in town!