For most modern cities, a mayor serves as the highest government office, liaison, figurehead, and primary policy maker. While legislative decisions are largely delegated to councils and ballot initiatives, the mayor is the primary point of contact for decisions and policies ranging from finance, education, safety, and the like. While the job functions and path to mayoralty depends on the city, legislative statues, and bylaws, the function of a mayor is typically standardized.
In most cases, after being elected, often times a mayor serves a term of four years, After those four years have expired, a mayor can choose, and with the voters willing, serve an unlimited number of terms. The path to the mayor's office usually consists of winning the office in a general election, with voters deciding the best candidate among a ballot of two or more options. The qualifications of becoming mayor differ, however, majority are elected with a solid educational background including a Bachelors (or in the case of smaller cities Associates) Degree, as well as significant work in the public sector before consideration.
The primary strengths of mayors and mayoral candidates are public speaking, charisma, honesty, and integrity among others. A mayor must also be diplomatic, as much of the job consists of listening and deciding among many equal sounding alternatives. Though not elected without a council of aides to help in decision-making, the mayor must make decisions with significant implications and ramifications which affect many, many people.
A typical day for a mayor depends upon the size of his constituency. Mayors presiding over smaller communities may have less decisions and more down-time, while mayors of most large cities are consistently busy with public relations opportunities and legislative meetings and decisions.
Though not without perks, the job of holding the highest office of a city is demanding, and its stringent qualifications and stiff competition makes it viable to only the most motivated and qualified of individuals.