Advice for the New Mayor

Stern, William

Cove, Peter

Kotkin, Joel

Savas, E. S.

Biederman, Daniel

McCaughey, Elizabeth

Heinemann, H. Erich

Brooke-Hitching, Harley

Moss, Mitchell

Nathan, Richard

Zuckerman, Mortimer

Cornuelle, Richard

Mahoney, Margaret

Berger, Stephen

Wriston, Walter B.

Morris, Charles

Crouch, Stanley


Stephen Berger former Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey


Define what your job is. Write it on a piece of paper. Say it out loud. Live your job description, not other people's.

Appoint three deputy mayors: for operations and management (first deputy), criminal justice, and education. The first deputy is your change agent. With luck this person has run a business. With more luck he has seen an income statement. Remember-the difference between the public and private sectors is how they view time and cash.

Put one person in charge of job creation and economic development. Make it an important position, but not a deputy mayor. Three deputy mayors, a budget director, and four thousand kitchen cabinet advisors are all you'll have time for.

Identify your three to five key objectives. You do these; someone else does most of everything else. Announce them up front and stick to them.

Hire commissioners as if you're hiring corporate CEOs with profit-and-loss responsibilities under a conglomerate. Treat them as if they work for you-not as if they're the enemy.

Tell the truth-nobody is smart enough to keep track of enough stories to make everyone happy. If you're going to dump on people (or organizations), tell them privately first.

If you don't get it on the table in the first three months, the junk in the cupboards becomes yours.

Finally, you have no friends-the mayor is the action and everyone wants a piece. The next time you will have friends is in four or eight years, depending on how lucky you get.

  • This document was created from the article, "Advice for the New Mayor" by Walter B. Wriston, Stanley Crouch, Stephen Berger, Charles Morris, Margaret Mahoney, Richard Cornuelle, Mortimer Zuckerman, Richard Nathan, Mitchell Moss, Harley Brooke-Hitching, H. Erich Heinemann, Elizabeth McCaughey, Daniel Biederman, E. S. Savas, Joel Kotkin, Peter Cove, and William Stern for the Winter 1994 edition of ... read more
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