Mayor of Chicago

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Mayor of Chicago
Chicago city seal.png
Seal of the City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel, official photo portrait color (cropped).jpg
Rahm Emanuel

since May 16, 2011
Style The Honorable
Term length 4 years
Inaugural holder William Butler Ogden
SuccessionVice-Mayor of Chicago
Website Office of the Mayor

The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of 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.

Chief executive officer highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator

The chief executive officer (CEO), or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues, or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. As of the 2017 census-estimate, it has a population of 2,716,450, which makes it the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the 5th largest Gross Domestic Product by state, is the 6th-most populous U.S. state and 25th-largest state in terms of land area. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in northern and central Illinois, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports around the world from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway on the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.


During sessions of the city council, the mayor serves as the presiding officer. The mayor submits proposals and recommendations to the city council of his own accord and on behalf of city departments. 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.

Appointment powers

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, 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.

Chicago Fire Department

The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) provides both fire suppression and emergency medical services to the city of Chicago, Illinois, United States, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Chicago. The Chicago Fire Department is the third largest municipal fire department in the United States after the New York City Fire Department and Cal Fire, as measured by sworn personnel. It is also one of the oldest major organized fire departments in the nation.

Chicago Police Department principal law enforcement agency of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is the law enforcement agency of the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois, under the jurisdiction of the City Council. It is the second largest municipal police department in the United States, behind only the New York City Police Department and larger than the Los Angeles Police Department. It has approximately 13,500 officers and over 1,925 other employees. Tracing its roots back to the year 1835, the Chicago Police Department is one of the oldest modern police forces in the world. The United States Department of Justice has criticized the department for its poor training, lack of oversight and routine use of excessive force.

Richard M. Daley Illinois politician

Richard Michael Daley is an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 43rd Mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1989 to 2011. Daley was elected mayor in 1989 and was reelected five times until declining to run for a seventh term. At 22 years, he was the longest-serving Chicago mayor, surpassing the tenure of his father, Richard J. Daley.

The Chicago City Clerk and city treasurer 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 succession

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.

A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms an officeholder may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method of curbing the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for life". This is intended to protect a democracy from becoming a de facto dictatorship. Sometimes, there is an absolute or lifetime limit on the number of terms an officeholder may serve; sometimes, the restrictions are merely on the number of consecutive terms he or she may serve.

In accordance with Illinois law, the city council elects a vice-mayor (currently Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), since May 2015) 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. 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.


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 within city limits. The first and only 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. [1] Rahm Emanuel is the current mayor, having won the 2011 election with 55% of the vote to 25% for his closest opponent, Gery Chico. Emanuel was sworn in on May 16, 2011. In an April 7, 2015 run-off election Emanuel won re-election with 55.7 percent to challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's 44.3 percent. [2]

Richard J. Daley American politician

Richard Joseph Daley was an American politician who served as the 38th Mayor of Chicago for a total of 21 years beginning on April 20, 1955, until his death on December 20, 1976. Daley was the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee for 23 years, holding both positions until his death in office in 1976. Daley was Chicago's third consecutive mayor from the working-class, heavily Irish American Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, where he lived his entire life. Daley is remembered for doing much to avoid the declines that some other "rust belt" cities—like Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit—experienced during the same period. He had a strong base of support in Chicago's Irish Catholic community, and he was treated by national politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson as a pre-eminent Irish American, with special connections to the Kennedy family. Daley played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Daley is the father of Richard M. Daley, also a former mayor of Chicago, William M. Daley, a former United States Secretary of Commerce, and John P. Daley, a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. While many members of Daley's administration were charged with corruption and convicted, Daley himself was never charged with corruption.

Jane Byrne American politician; Mayor of Chicago, Illinois

Jane Margaret Byrne was an American politician who served as the 40th Mayor of Chicago from April 16, 1979, until April 29, 1983. Byrne won the Chicago mayoral election on April 3, 1979, becoming the first female mayor of Chicago, the second largest city in the United States at the time. She was also the first woman to be elected mayor of a major city in the United States. Prior to her tenure as mayor, Byrne served as Chicago's commissioner of consumer sales from 1969 until 1977, the only woman to be a part of Mayor Richard J. Daley's cabinet.

Harold Washington American politician

Harold Lee Washington was an American lawyer and politician who was the 41st Mayor of Chicago. Washington became the first African–American to be elected as the city's mayor in February 1983. He served as mayor from April 29, 1983 until his death on November 25, 1987. Earlier, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1983, representing Illinois' first district. Washington had previously served in the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives from 1965 until 1976.

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. Before the mayor's office became officially nonpartisan, the mayor was the de facto leader of the city's Democratic Party, and had great influence over the ward organizations. [3]

List of mayors

The mayoral term in Chicago was one year from 1837 through 1863, when it was increased to two years. In 1907, it was lengthened to four years, the present duration. 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 lengthened. 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. William B Ogden by GPA Healy, 1855.jpg
William B. Ogden was the first mayor of Chicago.
Joseph Medill, 21st mayor of Chicago, was the first foreign-born mayor. Joseph Medill.jpg
Joseph Medill, 21st mayor of Chicago, was the first foreign-born mayor.
Harold Washington, 41st mayor of Chicago, was the first African-American mayor. Washington h.jpg
Harold Washington, 41st mayor of Chicago, was the first African-American mayor.
Richard M. Daley, 44th mayor of Chicago, was the longest-serving mayor (22 years). Richard M. Daley (4655925743 aacdba6297 n) (cropped).jpg
Richard M. Daley, 44th mayor of Chicago, was the longest-serving mayor (22 years).
#MayorTerm startTerm endTermsYears Party
1 William B. Ogden 1837183811 Democratic
2 Buckner S. Morris 1838183911 Whig
3 Benjamin W. Raymond 1839184011 Whig
4 Alexander Loyd 1840184111 Democratic
5 Francis C. Sherman 1841184211 Democratic
(3) Benjamin W. Raymond 1842184311 Whig
6 Augustus Garrett 1843184411 Democratic
7 Alson Sherman 1844184511None
(6) Augustus Garrett 1845184611 Democratic
8 John P. Chapin 1846184711 Whig
9 James Curtiss 1847184811 Democratic
10 James H. Woodworth 1848185022None
(9) James Curtiss 1850185111 Democratic
11 Walter S. Gurnee 1851185322 Democratic
12 Charles McNeill Gray 1853185411 Democratic
13 Isaac L. Milliken 1854185511 Democratic
14 Levi Boone 1855185611 American
15 Thomas Dyer 1856185711 Democratic
16 John Wentworth 1857185811 Republican
17 John C. Haines 1858186022 Democratic
(16) John Wentworth 1860186111 Republican
18 Julian S. Rumsey 1861186211 Republican
(5) Francis C. Sherman 1862186522 Democratic
19 John B. Rice 1865186924 Republican
20 Roswell B. Mason 1869187112Citizens
21 Joseph Medill 1871187312 Republican (Dry)
Lester L. Bond
(acting mayor pro temp)
187318731412 Republican
22 Harvey Doolittle Colvin 1873187512 Republican (Wet)
23 Monroe Heath 1876187924 Republican
24 Carter Harrison Sr. 1879188748 Democratic
25 John A. Roche 1887188912 Republican
26 DeWitt C. Cregier 1889189112 Democratic
27 Hempstead Washburne 1891189312 Republican
(24) Carter Harrison Sr.189318931412 Democratic
George Bell Swift
(acting mayor)
1893189311216 Republican
28 John P. Hopkins 18931895233 Democratic
29 George Bell Swift 1895189712 Republican
30 Carter Harrison Jr. 1897190548 Democratic
31 Edward F. Dunne 1905190712 Democratic
32 Fred A. Busse 1907191114 Republican
(30) Carter Harrison Jr. 1911191514 Democratic
33 William H. Thompson 1915192328 Republican
34 William E. Dever 1923192714 Democratic
(33) William H. Thompson 1927193114 Republican
35 Anton Cermak19311933122 Democratic
Frank Corr
(acting mayor pro temp)
19331933 Democratic
36 Edward J. Kelly 193319473 1214 Democratic
37 Martin H. Kennelly 1947195528 Democratic
38 Richard J. Daley195519765 3820 23 Democratic
39 Michael A. Bilandic 19761979582 13 Democratic
40 Jane Byrne 1979198314 Democratic
41 Harold Washington198319871 184 712 Democratic
David Orr
(acting mayor) [4]
19871987Partial Democratic
42 Eugene Sawyer 19871989581 12 Democratic
43 Richard M. Daley 198920115 1222 Democratic 1
44 Rahm Emanuel 2011Incumbent1 9107 23 Democratic 1

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, both Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel are known to be Democrats. [5]

Living mayors

As of 2018, three mayors of Chicago are still living, the oldest of whom is Richard M. Daley. [6] The most recent former mayor to die was Jane Byrne (19791983), on November 14, 2014. The most recently serving mayor to have died, however, was Eugene Sawyer (19871989), on January 19, 2008. [7]

NameMayoral termDate of birth
David Orr November 1987 – December 1987October 4, 1944 (age 74)
Richard M. Daley 1989–2011April 24, 1942 (age 76)
Rahm Emanuel2011presentNovember 29, 1959 (age 59)

See also

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  1. "Daley now Chicago mayor 1 day longer than father" Associated Press December 26, 2010
  2. Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2015
  3. "Government, City of Chicago". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  4. "Chicago Mayors, 1837-2007". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. Hardy, Thomas (July 7, 1995). "Gov. Edgar To End City Partisan Votes". Chicago Tribune.
  6. "Chicago Mayors". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  7. "Mayor Eugene Sawyer Biography" . Retrieved 2016-10-08.