Run an entire city or town.

What does a Mayor do?

A Mayor is the top elected official in a city, town, or municipality. In figurative terms, he or she is the acting CEO of a major corporation: Main Street USA. And like any CEO, it’s the Mayor’s job to lead, manage, and govern in the best interests of his or her “customers” — in this case, voters, citizens, and constituents.

In prime-time cartoon parodies (think Mayor Joe Quimby from “The Simpsons,” or Mayor Adam West of “Family Guy” fame), a Mayor’s job is little more than shaking hands, cutting ribbons, and kissing babies. Unless you’re Mayor McCheese, though, the truth is: Being Mayor is serious stuff.

As a Mayor, you’re the local equivalent of a state’s Governor or a nation’s President. In fact, you have many of the same duties, just at the local level. For instance, you hire and fire city employees, and propose, adopt, and execute city budgets. You also propose legislation, then work with Lawmakers to pass and enact it. In addition, you set and influence policy priorities, and sign all official city documents.

Your list of duties also includes meeting with citizens in order to hear then address their concerns, and making public appearances at business openings, school functions, and community events. On top of all that, you improve quality of life as an advocate for city beautification, parks and recreation, arts, and cultural affairs, while promoting economic development with programs that are designed to improve education, attract businesses, and create jobs.

Admittedly, your position is purely ceremonial in some places. In most jurisdictions, however, it’s a real executive post with real executive power — and real executive responsibility. Along with being charming, you’ve therefore got to be strategic, diplomatic, and decisive (and — in McDonaldland, at least — delicious!).