Being Mayor

By: Rachel DePompa
By: Rachel DePompa

The Queen of England, that's basically what being a mayor in the Valley is like.

"He's a ceremonial figure, instead of having seven council members to an activity, usually the mayor represents the council in total," says Staunton Mayor John Avoli.

"Ribbon cuttings, making speeches and things like that. Those are the things I enjoyed about it. I was able to get out and meet the people," says Former Harrisonburg Mayor Carolyn Frank.

The mayor also runs the city council meeting, but ribbon cuttings and public appearances take up most of a mayor's time.

Most cities in the Valley have a council member form of government. Which means the city manager is actually in charge. He or she's hired by the city council.

"The city manager is the chief administrative officer and the chief executive officer for the city,” says Harrisonburg City manager Roger Baker.

Although public appearances keep the mayor busy, one of the most important roles is representing the council to the public.

"I know there will be times when I don't agree with the majority of council, but at the same time once we have reached a decision, if I should happen not to agree with it, I will still represent that position to the public," says Harrisonburg Mayor Joe Fitzgerald.

But the job of mayor really depends on the person filling the seat.

It's really up to the individual. They can put more time or less time into it as they choose. The more time they put into it, obviously, the better image the city has.

The mayor does play an important part in the city's image. But, in the end they have only one vote, just like every other council member.


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