Full Time Mayor

Did you know that the San Leandro mayor position is supposed to be a part-time job?

When I first became mayor, I was familiar with our city’s programs and services, but not all the details. I
knew that I needed to ramp up and learn as much as possible to represent San Leandro properly. During
this onboarding period, I recognized that there were many opportunities to participate in collaborations
and partnerships to bring recognition and new funds to the city. I concluded that I needed to treat the
position as a full-time job. When I was elected, I was a retired school teacher. Today, I’m a full-time
mayor in a part-time job, and I’m working harder than ever before.

Many cities have part-time mayors who are retired or perform the work of mayor after hours and on
weekends. According to the United States Conference of Mayors, these are called “weak mayors,” which
is not a judgement of effectiveness, rather it distinguishes the level of political power and administrative
authority assigned to the mayor in the municipal charter. Other cities, like Oakland and San Francisco,
have “strong mayors,” who direct the administrative structure, have veto authority, and appoint and
remove department heads.

San Leandro is fortunate to have a qualified, dedicated staff that handles the day-to-day work of the
city. They are a constant presence, overseeing operations and doing the hard work of serving our
residents. The mayor and city council shape policy and provide overall guidance. In recent years,
however, as San Leandro emerged from the downturn, the mayor’s role has changed, requiring
consistent, daily leadership and attention.

On top of that, I personally feel that I can’t expect the staff to do things when I’m not doing them
myself. That’s why I attend so many public events and meetings. Last year, I participated in nearly 200
meetings, from a San Leandro Homeless Compact press conference to the National Night Out to raise
awareness for community policing and public safety. The more I engage with the community, the better
I am at representing the city among organizations will bring us recognition and new funding
opportunities. An involved mayor demonstrates the city is worth the investment.

Many of our community partners such as the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC),
where I serve as their Vice-Chair, expect elected representatives, not staff, to participate in commission
meetings and events. Working with representatives from ACTC and the US Conference of Mayors’
Women Mayors Leadership Alliance taught me the impact collaboration makes, which is one of the
reasons I am supported by the members of Alameda County Board of Supervisors, as well as six out of
seven members of the San Leandro City Council, and many other community leaders throughout the Bay
Area. When we support our neighboring cities, they support us, and we all benefit.

Finally, because I approach my role as a full-time position, I am available during work hours to answer
questions and help the staff make decisions. They don’t have to work overtime or come to work on
weekends, which helps them maintain a better work/life balance. I am also there to meet with
residents, listen to their concerns, visit their neighborhoods, and observe first-hand what’s taking place
in our city.

Because I’ve made being your mayor a full-time job, I can focus on addressing San Leandro’s most
pressing issues while also planning for the future. San Leandro deserves the mayor’s full-time attention.

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