There are two surveys of American Mayors that we are tracking. The first is through the Bloomberg philanthropies American Cities initiative titled the 2018 American Mayors Survey. The second is Boston University’s Initiative on Cities led Menino Survey of America of Mayors.
American mayors must be responsible for responding to national crises, yet manage and administer large institutions with operational complexity over transportation, health, infrastructure, the economy, and many other departments. Like Governors and the Presidency, acting as Mayor to a City requires political, administrative, and operational leadership of a City.
Partisan gridlock in national politics leads to Mayors and local Governments shouldering more responsibility (Einstein & Glick, 2015). Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto, in partnership with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and some Pittsburgh City Council members proposed gun legislation to ban certain guns, ammunition, and accessories within city limits in response to the Tree of Life shooting (Bauder, 2018).
Similarly, Mayors took unprecedented implemented climate policies in response to Federal policy (C40 Cities, 2017). The Global Compact of Mayors is a global initiative for mayors and city officials to reduce greenhouse gas, gas emissions, and climate risks in cities (C40 Cities, 2019).
In addition to carrying more political responsibility, mayors must deal with issues such as opioid addiction and public indebtedness, often with less discretionary resources.
The Menino survey collects interesting data around private incentives for large employers. One finding shows that Mayors generally wish that other cities would refrain from using financial incentives to attract new investment (Einstein K. L., Glick, Palmer, & Fox, 2018). Cities in competition one another deploy offer too many incentives that create an environment where business attraction becomes a race to the bottom (Einstein K. L., Glick, Palmer, & Fox, 2018).
The Bloomberg Philanthropy’s survey notes that 50% of Mayors say yes to private support for public programs when asked the question, “does your city have a fund or vehicle outside of government to raise money for public programs such as a dedicated nonprofit fund held at a community foundation or other fiscal conduit (Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2018)?”
The Bloomberg survey also examines opinions on climate change. 46% of Mayors say that the city has a very important role to address climate change, 34% say it is somewhat important, and 13% said climate change is not important (Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2018).
Other data points discussed by the surveys include mobility, affordable housing, transportation, and the sharing economy.
Bauder, B. (2018, December 14). Pittsburgh gun safety proposal would ben semiautomatic rifles. Trib Live. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://triblive.com/local/allegheny/14405721-74/pittsburgh-gun-safety-measures-would-include-assault-weapons-ban
Bloomberg Philanthropies. (2018). 2018 American Mayors Survey. Bloomberg American Cities Initiative. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://www.bbhub.io/dotorg/sites/2/2018/04/American-Mayors-Survey.pdf
C40 Cities. (2017). American Mayors Pledge Climate Leadership In Response To United States Presidential Election. London. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://www.c40.org/press_releases/american-mayors-pledge-climate-leadership-in-response-to-united-states-presidential-election
C40 Cities. (2019). Compact of Mayors. London. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://www.c40.org/programmes/compact-of-mayors
Einstein, K. L., & Glick, D. (2015). America’s mayors are taking on the big problems, but they can’t escape partisan divide. The Conversation. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from https://theconversation.com/americas-mayors-are-taking-on-the-big-problems-but-they-cant-escape-partisan-divide-39859
Einstein, K. L., Glick, D. M., Palmer, M., & Fox, S. (2018). Menino Survey of Mayors 2018 Results. Boston: Boston University Initiative on Cities.