Mayor of Boston

Mayor of Boston
Seal of Boston, Massachusetts.svg
Seal of Boston
Michelle Wu, Boston City Council Member (1).jpg
Incumbent
Michelle Wu

since November 16, 2021
StyleHis/Her Honor
SeatBoston City Hall
Term lengthFour years
Constituting instrumentBoston City Charter
Formation1822
First holderJohn Phillips
Salary$199,000[1]
Websitewww.boston.gov/departments/mayors-office
John Phillips, first mayor of Boston

The mayor of Boston is the head of the municipal government in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston has a mayor-council system of government. Boston's mayoral elections are non-partisan (as are all municipal elections in Boston), and elect a mayor to a four-year term; there are no term limits. The mayor's office is in Boston City Hall, in Government Center.

The current mayor as of November 16, 2021 is Michelle Wu. There are two living former mayors including Marty Walsh who served from 2014 to 2021, and Raymond Flynn, who served in the role during 1984–1993. The most recent mayor to die was Thomas Menino, on October 30, 2014.

History

Prior to 1822, there was no Mayor of Boston, because Boston was incorporated as a town. In Massachusetts, a town is typically governed by a town meeting, with a board of selectmen handling regular business. Boston was the first community in Massachusetts to receive a city charter, which was granted in 1822.[2] Under the terms of the new charter, the mayor was elected annually. In June 1895, the charter was amended, and the mayor's term was increased to two years.[3]

In 1909, the Republican-controlled state legislature enacted strong-mayor charter changes it hoped would dampen the rising power of Democratic Irish Americans.[4] Adopted by public vote in the November 1909 general election, changes included extending the mayoral term to four years, and making the post formally non-partisan.[5] The reforms did not work; the first mayor elected under the new charter was Democrat John F. Fitzgerald ("Honey Fitz"), and every mayor since Republican Malcolm Nichols (1926–1930) has been known to be a Democrat.

In a bid to temper the rising power of James Michael Curley, the state legislature in 1918 passed legislation barring the Mayor of Boston from serving consecutive terms in office;[6] Curley was prevented from running for re-election twice by this law (November 1925 and November 1933). The law was repealed in 1939,[7] after Curley's political career appeared to be in decline.[8]

Another charter change was enacted in 1949, partly in response to Curley's fourth term (1946–1950), during which he served prison time for crimes committed in an earlier term. Changes included adding a preliminary election to narrow the field to two mayoral candidates in advance of the general election, changing the Boston City Council from having 22 members (one from each city ward) to having nine members (elected at-large), and giving the council ability to override some mayoral vetoes.[9] These changes went into effect in 1951, resulting in the first term of John B. Hynes being shortened to two years.

From 1951 through 1991, Boston mayoral elections were held the year before presidential elections (e.g. mayoral election in 1951, presidential election in 1952). Starting in 1993, due to the election held following Raymond Flynn's appointment as United States Ambassador to the Holy See, Boston mayoral elections are held the year following presidential elections (e.g. presidential election in 1992, mayoral election in 1993).

Salary

As of 2018, salary for the mayor is $199,000.[1] Members of the Boston City Council receive a salary that is 50% of that amount, currently $99,500.[1] Every four years, the Council votes on whether or not to raise the mayor's salary, thereby also raising its own salaries or not.

In June 2018, the Council voted to increase the salary of the mayor to $207,000, effective after the mayoral election of November 2021 (term starting in January 2022); this increased the salary of councillors to $103,500, effective after the council elections of November 2019 (terms starting in January 2020).[10][1]

List

There is no official count of Boston's mayors. The City of Boston does not number its mayors[11] and numbering has been inconsistent over time. For example, Thomas Menino was referred to as the 47th mayor at the time he was sworn in,[12] yet his successor, Marty Walsh, was identified as the 54th.[13] The Walsh administration cited Wikipedia for its use of 54.[13] That numbering scheme counted persons who served as elected mayors and counted those who served non-consecutive terms more than once; James M. Curley served four non-consecutive terms and was counted four times.[13][a] Kim Janey, who became acting mayor in March 2021, refers to herself as the 55th mayor.[14]

Use of ( ) in the below table denotes non-consecutive terms for a mayor.

#MayorTermIn office Party
StartEndTerms wonDuration
1John PhillipsMay 1, 1822May 1, 182311 yearFederalist
2Josiah Quincy IIIMay 1, 1823January 5, 182965 years, 8 monthsFederalist
3Harrison G. OtisJanuary 5, 1829January 2, 183233 yearsFederalist
4Charles WellsJanuary 2, 1832January 6, 183422 yearsWhig
5Theodore LymanJanuary 6, 1834January 4, 183622 yearsDemocratic
6Samuel T. ArmstrongJanuary 4, 1836January 1, 183711 yearWhig
7Samuel A. EliotJanuary 1, 1837January 6, 184033 yearsWhig
8Jonathan ChapmanJanuary 6, 1840January 2, 184333 yearsWhig
9Martin BrimmerJanuary 2, 1843January 6, 184522 yearsWhig
William Parker double-daggerJanuary 6, 1845February 27, 18452 monthsWhig
10Thomas A. Davis daggerFebruary 27, 1845November 22, 184519 monthsNative AmericanKN
Benson Leavitt double-daggerNovember 22, 1845December 11, 18451 monthWhig
11Josiah Quincy IV.December 11, 1845January 1, 184933 years, 1 monthWhig
12John P. BigelowJanuary 1, 1849January 5, 185233 yearsWhig
13Benjamin SeaverJanuary 5, 1852January 2, 185422 yearsWhig
14Jerome V. C. SmithJanuary 2, 1854January 7, 185622 yearsAmericanKN
15Alexander H. RiceJanuary 7, 1856January 4, 185822 yearsRepublican
16 (1)Frederic W. Lincoln Jr.January 4, 1858January 7, 186133 yearsRepublican
17Joseph WightmanJanuary 7, 1861January 5, 186322 yearsDemocratic
18 (2)Frederic W. Lincoln Jr.January 5, 1863January 7, 186744 yearsRepublican
19Otis NorcrossJanuary 7, 1867January 6, 186811 yearRepublican
20Nathaniel B. ShurtleffJanuary 6, 1868January 2, 187133 yearsDemocratic
21William GastonJanuary 2, 1871January 6, 187322 yearsDemocratic
22 (1)Henry L. PierceJanuary 6, 1873November 29, 1873111 monthsNone
Leonard R. Cutter double-daggerNovember 29, 1873January 5, 18741 monthDemocratic
23Samuel C. CobbJanuary 5, 1874January 1, 187733 yearsNone
24 (1)Frederick O. PrinceJanuary 1, 1877January 7, 187811 yearDemocratic
25 (2)Henry L. PierceJanuary 7, 1878January 6, 187911 yearRepublican
26 (2)Frederick O. PrinceJanuary 6, 1879January 2, 188233 yearsDemocratic
27Samuel A. GreenJanuary 2, 1882January 1, 188311 yearRepublican
28Albert PalmerJanuary 1, 1883January 7, 188411 yearDemocratic
29Augustus P. MartinJanuary 7, 1884January 5, 188511 yearRepublican
30Hugh O'BrienJanuary 5, 1885January 7, 188944 yearsDemocratic
31 (1)Thomas N. HartJanuary 7, 1889December 31, 189022 yearsRepublican
32Nathan Matthews Jr.January 1, 1891January 7, 189544 yearsDemocratic
33Edwin Upton CurtisJanuary 7, 1895January 6, 189611 yearRepublican
 
Mayoral term increased to two years.
  
34Josiah QuincyJanuary 6, 1896January 1, 190024 yearsDemocratic
35 (2)Thomas N. HartJanuary 1, 1900January 6, 190212 yearsRepublican
36Patrick Collins daggerJanuary 6, 1902September 13, 190523 years, 9 monthsDemocratic
Daniel A. Whelton double-daggerSeptember 15, 1905January 1, 19063 monthsDemocratic
37 (1)John F. FitzgeraldJanuary 1, 1906January 6, 190812 yearsDemocratic
38George A. HibbardJanuary 6, 1908February 7, 191012 yearsRepublican
 
Mayoral term increased to four years.
  
39 (2)John F. FitzgeraldFebruary 7, 1910February 2, 191414 yearsDemocratic
40 (1)James M. CurleyFebruary 2, 1914February 4, 191814 yearsDemocratic
41Andrew J. PetersFebruary 4, 1918February 6, 192214 yearsDemocratic
42 (2)James M. CurleyFebruary 6, 1922January 4, 192614 yearsDemocratic
43Malcolm NicholsJanuary 4, 1926January 6, 193014 yearsRepublican
44 (3)James M. CurleyJanuary 6, 1930January 1, 193414 yearsDemocratic
45Frederick MansfieldJanuary 1, 1934January 3, 193814 yearsDemocratic
46Maurice J. TobinJanuary 3, 1938January 4, 194527 yearsDemocratic
John E. Kerrigan double-daggerJanuary 4, 1945January 7, 19461 yearDemocratic
47 (4)James M. CurleyJanuary 7, 1946January 2, 195014 yearsDemocratic
48John B. HynesJanuary 2, 1950January 4, 1960310 yearsDemocratic
49John F. CollinsJanuary 4, 1960January 1, 196828 yearsDemocratic
50Kevin WhiteJanuary 1, 1968January 2, 1984416 yearsDemocratic
51Raymond FlynnJanuary 2, 1984July 12, 199339 years, 6 monthsDemocratic
52Thomas MeninoJuly 12, 1993January 6, 2014520 years, 6 monthsDemocratic
53Marty WalshJanuary 6, 2014March 22, 202127 years, 2 monthsDemocratic
Kim Janey double-daggerMarch 22, 2021November 16, 20218 monthsDemocratic
54Michelle WuNovember 16, 2021Incumbent11 monthDemocratic
    
 
Mayors serving non-consecutive terms.
  
MFrederic W. Lincoln Jr.January 4, 1858January 7, 186777 yearsRepublican
MHenry L. PierceJanuary 6, 1873January 6, 187921 year, 11 monthsRepublican
MFrederick O. PrinceJanuary 1, 1877January 2, 188244 yearsDemocratic
MThomas N. HartJanuary 7, 1889January 7, 190234 yearsRepublican
MJohn F. FitzgeraldJanuary 5, 1906February 2, 191426 yearsDemocratic
MJames M. CurleyFebruary 2, 1914January 2, 1950416 yearsDemocratic

dagger died in office
double-dagger acting mayor only
^KN Native American Party and American Party were formal names of the "Know Nothing" movement.

Acting mayors

Boston's city charter stipulates that the City Council President serves as acting mayor whenever the mayor is absent from the city, unable to serve, or the office is vacant. An acting mayor cannot make permanent appointments, and can only perform urgent tasks "not admitting of delay" (which is somewhat open to interpretation).[15]

The following individuals served as acting mayor during a vacancy in the office.

Thomas Menino, longest-serving mayor of Boston
YearNameExplanationRef.
1845William ParkerServed as acting mayor during multiple deadlocked elections.[11]
1845Benson LeavittServed as acting mayor following the death of Thomas A. Davis.[11]
1853Benjamin L. AllenServed as acting mayor during multiple deadlocked elections.[11]
1873Leonard R. CutterServed as acting mayor following Henry L. Pierce's election to Congress.
Was not a candidate in the 1873 Boston mayoral election.
[16][17]
1905Daniel A. WheltonServed as acting mayor following the death of Patrick Collins.
Was not a candidate in the 1905 Boston mayoral election.
[18][19]
1945John E. KerriganServed as acting mayor upon Maurice J. Tobin becoming Governor of Massachusetts.
Subsequently lost the 1945 Boston mayoral election.
[20][21]
1947John B. HynesServed as acting mayor during the absence (incarceration) of James M. Curley.
Subsequently won the 1949 Boston mayoral election.
[11][22]
1993Thomas MeninoServed as acting mayor upon Raymond Flynn becoming Ambassador to the Holy See.
Subsequently won the 1993 Boston mayoral election.
[23][24]
2021Kim JaneyServed as acting mayor upon Marty Walsh becoming United States Secretary of Labor.
Eliminated in preliminary stage of the 2021 Boston mayoral election.
[25][26]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ This web page itself first applied numbers to the list of mayors in August 2007. Menino was numbered 53rd at that time. For reasons that are unclear, Leonard R. Cutter, who served as acting mayor in late 1873, was also included in the count. This has since been updated for internal consistency.

Sources

  • Allison, Robert; Bulger, William (2011). James Michael Curley. Applewood Books. ISBN 9781933212753.
  • O'Neill, Gerard (2012). Rogues and Redeemers. New York: Crown Publisher. ISBN 9780307405364.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Valencia, Milton J. (June 13, 2018). "Mayor, councilors could get 4% raises". The Boston Globe. p. B5. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "(untitled)". Weekly Raleigh Register. Raleigh, North Carolina. March 22, 1822. p. 3. Retrieved March 24, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "CHARTER AMENDED". The Boston Globe. June 2, 1895. p. 1. Retrieved March 13, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  4. ^ O'Neill, pp. 39–42
  5. ^ "New Boston Charter is the Worst Defeat Ever Given Boss Rule". The Marion Daily Mirror. Marion, Ohio. November 3, 1909. Retrieved March 17, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "REPORT BILL TO STOP CONSECUTIVE TERMS". The Boston Globe. February 26, 1918. p. 6. Retrieved March 12, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  7. ^ "SECOND TERM WINS IN BOSTON". The Boston Globe. November 8, 1939. p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  8. ^ Allison and Bulger, pp. 86–87
  9. ^ "Plan A Wins; Boston to Get New Charter". The Boston Globe. November 9, 1949. p. 1. Retrieved March 2, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  10. ^ "Editorial: Elected leaders profit as we pay". Boston Herald. June 29, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Past Mayors of Boston". boston.gov. July 8, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  12. ^ Flint, Anthony (January 1, 1998). "New council support seen for Roache as president". The Boston Globe. p. 27. Retrieved March 23, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  13. ^ a b c Ryan, Andrew (January 6, 2014). "Is Walsh mayor 54? Or 48? Or 58?". Boston.com. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  14. ^ Cotter, Sean Philip (March 27, 2021). "Analysis: What number mayor is Kim Janey, actually?". Boston Herald. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  15. ^ DeCosta-Klipa, Nik (January 22, 2021). "What's actually the difference between being mayor and acting mayor?". Boston.com. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "Resignation of the Mayor of Boston". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 25, 1873. p. 4. Retrieved March 12, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Boston Mayor Race - Dec 09, 1873". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  18. ^ "WHELTON IS ACTING MAYOR". The Boston Globe. September 15, 1905. p. 1. Retrieved March 12, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  19. ^ "Boston Mayor Race - Dec 12, 1905". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  20. ^ Doherty, Joseph (January 26, 1945). "Kerrigan First World War II Vet to Head City Government". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved March 12, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  21. ^ "Boston Mayor Race - Nov 06, 1945". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Boston Mayor Race - Nov 08, 1949". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  23. ^ McGrory, Brian (July 13, 1993). "Menino, 'a neighborhood guy,' now at center stage". The Boston Globe. p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  24. ^ "Boston Mayor Race - Nov 02, 1993". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  25. ^ Gavin, Christopher (March 22, 2021). "Kim Janey becomes Boston's acting mayor, makes history as first Black person, woman to hold the office". Boston Herald. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  26. ^ "Unofficial Election Results". Boston.gov. October 3, 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2021.

Further reading

External links

Media files used on this page

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Author/Creator: RexxS, Licence: CC0
A double-dagger symbol for use in in-line text, so that alt text can be applied, for compatibility with screen readers. This version has no anti-aliasing, which may produce a cleaner effect at this small size.
Michelle Wu, Boston City Council Member (1).jpg
Author/Creator: Kenneth C. Zirkel, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Michelle Wu, Boston City Council Member, wears a button supporting Elizabeth Warren for President. Taken at the Warren campaign announcement in Lawrence, Massachusetts, February 9, 2019.
Flag of Boston.svg
Flag of Boston
ThomasMenino.jpg
(c) ​English Wikipedia user Toasterb, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Thomas Menino addressing members of 1199SEIU at a convention 2/10/2007
John Phillips First Mayor of Boston.png
Mayors of Boston: An Illustrated Epitome of who the Mayors Have Been and What they Have Done, Boston, MA: State Street Trust Company, 1914
Seal of Boston, Massachusetts.svg
Seal of Boston, Massachusetts