Local leaders impact our lives every day. 

Elected officials in New York City make decisions that impact jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and more. 

That’s why it’s important to not only know who the candidates are, but also what their jobs would be if elected. 

What Does Each Office Do?

Mayor

The Mayor is the leader of our city government. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:  

  • Propose the city’s budget
  • Sign or veto bills passed by the City Council
  • Appoint leaders to city agencies, including the Schools Chancellor and Police Commissioner 
  • Set priorities and policy for city agencies
  • Manage city land, impacting affordable housing, public parks, and street cleaning

Fun Fact: Robert Anderson Van Wyck was the first Mayor to take office after the 5 boroughs consolidated into the City of New York in 1898.

Public Advocate

The Public Advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • If the Mayor leaves office, the Public Advocate will act as Mayor until a special election is held
  • Introduce and co-sponsor bills in the City Council
  • Provide oversight for city agencies
  • Investigate citizens’ complaints about city services

Fun fact: The Public Advocate keeps a Worst Landlord Watchlist to help protect tenants.

Comptroller

The Comptroller manages the city’s finances and assures the city’s financial health. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Audit city agencies and contracts 
  • Prevent abuses in contracting
  • Manage budgets, city investments like trust and pension funds, and bonds
  • Advise the Mayor and City Council on the city’s financial condition

Fun Fact: NYC has an estimated budget of $92 billion, which is more than the GDP of most countries!

Borough President

The Borough President serves as an advocate for their borough. They serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Consult with the Mayor on the annual budget
  • Provide grants to local organizations
  • Advise on rezoning
  • Appoint representatives to the City Planning Commission and Community Boards

Fun Fact: Borough presidents are affectionately referred to as “beeps.”

City Council

The City Council is the legislative, or law-making, branch of New York City’s government. There are 51 members. Councilmembers serve for 4 years (up to 2 consecutive terms).

What they do:

  • Introduce and vote on bills
  • Negotiate and approve the City’s budget
  • Monitor city agencies
  • Make decisions about the growth and development of our city 

Fun Fact: In 1937, Genevieve B. Earle became the first woman elected to the New York City Council.

*Council members elected in 2021 will serve a 2-year term. Following the 2020 census, City Council districts will be redrawn to adjust for changes in population. In 2023, candidates will run for a 2-year term in the newly redrawn districts. In 2025, 4-year council terms will resume.

District Attorney

The District Attorney is the top prosecutor for their county. They serve for 4 years. There are no term limits.

What they do:

  • Decide which cases to prosecute (and which not to)
  • Oversee all criminal prosecutions
  • Investigate and prosecute criminal conduct

Fun fact: NYC Voters can choose their own DAs! Some states appoint their own without an election.

Find my representatives

Meet My Current Representatives

Visit this collaboration between CUNY and the League of Women Voters to find out who represents you!

Find my representatives

Key Dates

  • Deadline for Board of Elections to receive absentee ballots

    Tue, June 29, 2021