With the Red Lodge mayoral elections around the corner, Nov. 5, the two candidates, Ed Williams and Tom Weaver, are preparing their battle lines and hoping their vision for Red Lodge is the one chosen. But is it their vision? What is a mayor’s role in city government and a town’s future?
It is surprising to realize that a mayor has little real say in how a town is governed. They are a hired entity who oversees meetings and can only recommend measures to the council. They cannot vote unless it is as a tiebreaker and can be subject to removal if the council feels the need. A city council even has the power to over ride a mayor’s veto. A mayor must even seek approval from the council for leave of absence.
As for the decision-making, it is the council that decides the course and shape the town will take; they are the legislative branch and governing body.
A mayor is the chief executive and chief administrative officer of the city, must live within city limits, must be non-partisan and hold the office for 2 years. The mayor cannot act without the council’s approval or consent.
A mayor’s powers and duties include:
1) enforcing laws, ordinances and resolutions;
2) perform duties required of him by law, charter, ordinance or resolution;
3) administer affairs of the local government;
4) carry out policies established by council;