Mayors’ Roles in Municipal Government

Each of your essays should be a thorough response to the overall question. Please formulate your answers into an essay and refrain from answering each specific question as an independent question. Explicit efforts should be made to incorporate and cite course readings and outside readings into your essays, to support your answers. (Sources may be listed at the end of each answer or at the end of your exam.) While some of the questions may have “yes” or “no” answers or ask your opinion, you are expected to fully defend and/or explain your answer using the relevant research literature, textbooks, examples, or other scholarly means.

Question: Mayors have different roles in municipal government based on the authority given to them by statute. Please describe these roles. How is the dynamic between the mayor, the council, and the city manager/administrator (if applicable) different in each of these systems?

What checks and balances are in place in each system? Does one work better for larger or smaller cities? What factors should be examined when determining how successful a mayor is? Can a “weak” mayor be effective? If yes, how? Can a “strong” mayor be weak?

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