Mayor and Governor are two authoritative positions of administrative leadership. The difference between Mayor and Governor lies in their area of work, power, and responsibilities.
Depending on the structure of the government, the roles of the Mayor and Governor varies from country to country. So, when we speak of the elected or appointed superior position of a local government and the state-level government, it consecutively refers to the mayor and Governor’s position.
In simplest terms, a Mayor is the head administrator of a city, town, or county. On the other hand, a Governor is the head administrator of a province or a state.
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|Range||A mayor is the head administrator or the highest-ranking officer of a city, town, county, or municipality.||A governor is the head administrator or the highest-ranking officer of a province or a sub-national state that ranks under the head of the state, or the head of the national government.|
|Protocol||The office of the Mayor is lower than the office of the Governor.||The office of the Governor is higher than the office of the Mayor.|
|Election||In some countries, the mayor is a government officer and in some other countries, the mayor is an elected rank.||In some countries, the governor is an appointed rank, and in some other countries, the governor is an elected rank.|
|Area of responsibility||According to the definition, the mayor’s area (city or town) of responsibility is smaller compared to the governor’s.||According to the definition, the area(state or province) of responsibility is bigger compared to the area of responsibility of the mayor.|
|USA||Chief executive officer of a city||An executive head and a commander in chief of a state.|
A mayor is an elected or selected chief official of a city, town, or village.
The term mayor derives from the french word Maire, meaning Mayor. Usually, a mayor leads a municipal government, yet sometimes is a ceremonial figure with minimal administrative power.
In some countries, the mayor is an appointed government official. While in some others, a mayor is an elected rank.
In a Council-manager government system, voters elect the council members. And the council members elect a Mayor as the head of the council following the First among equals system. In this system, the mayor is just a ceremonial post. The council is responsible for making all city policies. They appoint a professional manager for executive duties.
In a Mayor-council government system, the Mayor and the City Council – both elected by the voters. There are two types of mayoralties in the Mayor-council government system. One is the Weak mayor system; another is the Strong mayor system.
In the weak mayor system, the power of the mayor is lesser than the council. On the other hand, the strong mayor system gives a mayor the majority of the power.
Mayor System by country:
The Mayor system differs from country to country. Here are some countrywise systems described below:
Mayor in the USA:
There are three types of local government formation in the United States: The Council-manager government, The Mayor-council government, and The City commission government.
Aldermen are the elected city council members. They are also known as Alders or Alderpersons. Alders form the Board of Aldermen, the City Council, and the County Council.
The public elects commissioners to form a City Commission. They elect a chairperson or a mayor among themselves. The mayor of the City Commission acts as a weak mayor.
Mayor in Canada:
In Canada, the chief executive of a borough or arrondissement is called a mayor (in English) or maire (in French, feminine: mairesses). There are two types of local government formation in Canada: The Council-manager government system and The Mayor-council government system.
In some small towns in Ontario, a mayor is called a reeve. The Weak mayor system of the Mayor-council government is popular in Canada.
Mayor in the UK:
In the United Kingdom municipal Corporations Act 1882, Section 15 regulates the UK mayor elections.
Mayor in Australia:
In Australia, the weak mayor system is popular. In a City Council, councilors are elected representing political parties, and a mayor is the leader of the majority party. Mayors are elected by voters directly or selected by the majority party/parties by the councilors.
Mayor in India:
In India’s majority states, mayors are elected by the Municipal Council’s city councilors or Municipal Corporation’s majority parties. In nine states, mayors are elected directly by the public.
What does the mayor do?
The responsibility of a mayor depends on the local power structure. In the council-weak mayor power structure, the mayor is more of a ceremonial post, while the council of members holds most of the power.
Presiding the council meetings, making decisions on taxation and other fiscal issues of a city, attending ceremonies, and signing proclamations are notable responsibilities of a mayor in the council-weak mayor structure.
In the council-strong mayor structure, the mayor holds the superior administrative authority, while the council members have the power over legislative issues of the city.
In a council-strong mayor structure, the mayor can veto any legislative decisions taken by the councilors. He/She can appoint and reject staff, responsible for ceremonial obligations, etc.
A governor is an elected or a selected executive head of a state or province.
The term governor derives from the french word governeour. Usually, a governor leads a state or provincial level government.
The power of a governor depends on the political system of a state or province. In some states, the governor is a position with nominal ceremonial power, while in some others, a governor is the superior authority of a state-level government.
A governor is the elected or appointed head administrator or the highest-ranking officer of a province or a sub-national state. A governor serves the state for a certain period (usually four or five years).
The system of governors varies from country to country. In the US, the executive branch is led by a people’s elected governor. But in India, the incumbent central government elects the governor.
Governor system by country
Here are some countrywise systems of governors described below:
Governor in The USA
In the US, a governor is the chief executive of a state or insular territory. It is a directly-elected rank. Forty-five out of fifty states in the United States have the office of Lieutenant Governor.
Governor in Canada
In Canada, governors are appointed by Canada’s head of the state, the King or Queen of Canada. It is a formal official rank as the head of the federal and provincial level with no executive power and the king or queen’s representative. The federal governor is known as the Governor-General.
Governor in the UK
The British Government appoints the governors in the United Kingdom overseas territories. They play active roles in lawmaking and governing these territories.
Governor in Australia
Like Canada, governors are appointed by Australia’s head of the state, the King or Queen of Australia. It is a formal official rank as the head of the federal and provincial level with no executive power and the king or queen’s representative. The federal governor is called as Governor-General.
Governor in New Zealand
Like Canada and Australia, governors are appointed by New Zealand’s head of the state, the King or Queen of New Zealand. It is a formal official rank as the head of the federal and provincial level with no executive power and the king or queen’s representative. The federal governor is called the Governor-General.
Governor in India
A governor is a formal head of a sub-national state (province) or a Lieutenant Governor of a union territory; appointed by the President of the Republic of India. Here governors act as an observer from the central government over the provincial government.
What does the governor do?
From a general perspective, some roles of a governor are mentioned below:
- Signing legislative bills. Implementing and overseeing state laws and influencing legislative decisions taken by the state executive branch.
- A governor has the power to veto any bill. Also, he/she has the power to eliminate and add certain items in the proposed state budget.
- A governor can approve the state budgets and appropriations.
- A governor is the ceremonial head of a state.
Although, the responsibilities of the governor depends on the individual system of a state. As for an appointed governor, the authority over legislation and administrations are limited. While it comes to an elected governor, the power and authority over different sectors are much bigger.
The key differences between mayor and governor
- The main difference between mayor and governor is in their area of responsibility. A mayor is an elected or appointed leader of a city, town, county administration. In contrast, the governor is an elected or appointed leader of a state or provincial level administration.
- Protocol-wise, the office of the mayor is lower than the office of the governor.
- According to the definition, a governor’s responsibility area is bigger than the mayor’s responsibility area.
- In the USA, the Mayor serves as the chief executive officer of a city. On the other hand, the Governor serves as the executive head and the commander in chief of a state.
- The mayor runs the local government while the governor runs the state government. In contrast, the head of the federal government is the President.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
Who ranks higher, the mayor or the governor?
The post of ‘Governor’ is higher than the post of a Mayor.
Mayor vs Governor: Who has more power?
A governor has more power than a mayor.
What is mayor-president?
In some countries (e.g United States), the Mayor-president is a post like a mayor.
How much power does a mayor have?
In some countries, the mayor is a government officer, and in some other countries, the mayor is an elected post. For elected mayors, some enjoy autonomy, and some have little power to do.
What is the difference between mayor and president?
‘Mayor’ is the head administrator or highest-ranking officer of a city, or a town or a county, and ‘President’ is the highest post of a republic.
What does the governor do?
Governor is the head administrator or highest-ranking officer of a province or a sub-national state.
How much power does a governor have?
In some countries, the governor is a government officer, and in some other countries, the governor is an elected post. For elected mayors, some enjoy autonomy, but some have little power to do.
What is the difference between the governor and the president?
‘President’ is the highest post of a republic, and ‘Governor’ is the chief governing post of a province or a state. Both posts may be constitutional or elected.
How many female governors are there in the US?
Forty-three females have served as governors of the U.S. states to date. Currently, there are nine women, serving as governors in the U.S. states.
Who was the first female governor in the United States?
Carolyn B. Shelton (October 1876 – July 26, 1936) was the first female governor in the United States. She was the acting governor of the State of Oregon in 1909. Nellie Davis Tayloe Ross (November 29, 1876 – December 19, 1977) was the first full-time female governor in the United States. She was the 14th Governor of the State of Wyoming from January 5, 1925 – January 3, 1927.
The core difference between mayor and governor is in the area of their duties. While we speak of the political roles and responsibilities, it refers to several positions and protocols. In simple words, a mayor is the executive head of the local government, and the post of governor indicates the executive head of a state.
Craig is a full-time academic and research-based article writer from California. A trained content creator who started his career as a column writer for local magazines and newspapers. His works have been published on many renowned online platforms.