What does the mayor of Chicago do?

If the city were a business, the mayor would be its chief executive officer. Here’s what you need to know about the job.

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As Chicago recovers from the pandemic and the world stares down a possible economic downturn, it’s the mayor who will guide the city through those next chapters.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Chicago has many layers of government, including the alderpeople who make up the city council, the person in charge of the city stickers and the person everyone knows about — the mayor.

But what exactly are their responsibilities?

WBEZ’s Tessa Weinberg has an overview of who the city’s voters elect every four years and what they do.

Here’s what the mayor does:

Mayor

Salary:$216,210

Term:4 years

Some well-known past office holders:Richard J. Daley, Richard M. Daley, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, Rahm Emanuel

What does the mayor do?

If the city were a business, you could think of the mayor as its chief executive officer. The mayor sets the city’s priorities, crafts the city’s budget and chooses who gets to run its parks, schools, trains and police. They have a hand in whether you’ll face a property tax hike or how fast you need to drive to get stuck with a ticket from the city’s speed cameras.

Why is this job important?

While ordinances require passage by the City Council, the mayor has huge sway over what can and can’t get through. They also appoint council committee chairs, who have the authority to advance — or stop — a proposed ordinance.

On issues like housing, policing and economic investment in the city, the mayor is often driving the agenda. And as Chicago recovers from the pandemic and the world stares down a possible economic downturn, it’s the mayor who will guide the city through those next chapters.

Here’s a list of who’s running for mayor this election.

Learn more:

Tessa Weinberg covers Chicago government and politics for WBEZ.

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