By Tom Hayden, Flower Mound Mayor
Several times I’ve been asked, “What does a mayor do?” In some states, when a mayor is elected it is a full-time job, the person runs the town on a day-to-day basis. But in Texas which is governed by a Home Rule Charter, a city or town manager is hired on a full-time basis and they report to a majority of the town or city council.
While the mayor is responsible for running council meetings and speaking at events, the role of the mayor is really what one makes of it. Personally, there have been two items to me that have risen above other things.
The first is a direction for the town, a long-term path. Identifying areas of improvement, convincing other council members to agree with you, and moving the town in that direction in my mind is paramount.
The other day I was looking through literature from the 2012 election, the year I first ran for mayor, and the focus of that election was diversifying our tax base away from being so reliant on residential taxes, to increase the commercial tax base, increase sales tax revenue and give our residents more opportunities to shop and dine within our town limits.
The importance of doing these things was tied to us being able to have more revenues to build parks, maintain our roads and to be able to offer our town staff more competitive compensation. At some time in the future, I’m sure I’ll go into more detail regarding our report card, but as one drives around Flower Mound, it seems most people can see whether we have been successful or not.
- 3.05. Mayor. The Mayor shall preside over the meetings of the Council and perform such other duties consistent with the office as may be imposed by this Charter and by ordinances and resolutions passed in pursuance thereof. The Mayor may participate in the discussion of all matters coming before the Council and shall have a casting vote in case of a tie vote. The Mayor shall sign, after authorization by the Council, all contracts, conveyances made or entered into by the Town and all bonds, warrants and any other obligations issued under the provisions of this Charter, in the manner prescribed in the ordinance authorizing the signing of any such obligation. The Mayor may delegate to the Town Manager the authority to sign all contracts not to exceed Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00), or any such lesser amount as may be approved by the Town Council. The Mayor shall be recognized as the official head of the Town by the courts for the purpose of serving civil process, by the Governor for the purpose of enforcing military law, and for all ceremonial purposes. (Amend. of 5-15-2004) (From the Flower Mound Town Charter)
The second thing I’ve always felt is an important role of the mayor is to help council members be successful during their terms. Serving on council is a tremendous time commitment and the only reward one takes away is the sense of accomplishment of a job well done. I’ve tried over the years to identify the goals of my fellow council members and to help them be successful in their objectives. Everyone on council comes with different ideas about what they would like to do. I’ve tried, and while sometimes more successfully than others, to blend the ideas together and to help everyone’s goals be accomplished while on council.
However, the most rewarding part of being mayor, is having a resident call and say, “Tom, I need help with…” and then to have them respond, “Wow, I should have called you sooner.” Being mayor may be the best job one can have for the solely the reason listed above. For me, that has been the most rewarding part of being mayor.