Our political leaders are seldom asked the same kinds of probing questions that reveal the core competencies of everyday job applicants. We ask candidates for public office about their stand on issues, but rarely ask them to demonstrate how they can get things done. The Citizen is out to change that. It’s time to move beyond the talking points…and get real. The solution?
We asked you – citizens of Philadelphia, from every zip code and every political viewpoint – to tell us what we need in a mayor. Your feedback formed the basis of a citizen-generated job description. We’ll use that to interview each mayoral candidate during a series of free, public mayoral job interviews to be held at Fitler Club, kicking off January 17. Read our citizen-generated job description for Philadelphia’s next mayor:
Job Title: Mayor of Philadelphia
Hours: Full-time; 24/7
The Mayor of Philadelphia serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Cheerleader for America’s sixth-largest city. The Mayor needs a bold vision for the city and a strategic plan to achieve that vision; furthermore, the Mayor must attract a team capable of executing his or her vision and plan. She or he must be a masterful convener, able to bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to bring about meaningful change.
The ideal candidate will possess institutional knowledge of how city government operates, demonstrate the intellectual skills to envision a new future for Philadelphia, and be an exceptional communicator who exudes warmth and empathy. That candidate should be capable of establishing new relationships and building on them to achieve short- and long-term political goals and navigate the politics of each policy initiative for its successful execution.
- Manage the city’s nearly 25,000 employees and $6 billion operating budget in a way that prioritizes equity and opportunity for all
- Focus on public safety and peace-keeping in the city, working with other stakeholders to lower violent crime
- Oversee quality-of-life issues, including but not limited to fixing potholes, street sweeping, and anti-blight initiatives
- Recommend legislation to City Council
- Oversee the School Board and schools’ superintendent in a way that pushes for change and experimentation in pre-K through 12 education
- Implement measures to compassionately and meaningfully address our city’s opioid use disorder epidemic and behavioral/mental health crises
- Gain firsthand experience and understanding of the day-to-day life of Philadelphians by using city services such as public transportation and regularly visiting all of the city’s neighborhoods
- Foster transparent, open, and effective two-way communication
- Successfully negotiate with municipal unions without overlong work stoppages, to meet the needs of both the communities and workers
- Champion our city, both to residents and to people and businesses outside of Philadelphia, and instill residents with a sense of pride not only in our sports teams, but in our schools, businesses, arts, food, parks, and beyond
- Work well with other levels of government – state and federal
What is Needed
- A determined, well-resourced and sustained plan to close the inequality gap in employment, education, income and wealth, housing and health care
- A strategy and effective tactics to grow Philadelphia’s economy in a manner that enables shared participation and prosperity
- A willingness to be the person accountable to Philadelphians for the performance of the public schools and charter schools
- The restoration of public safety in every city neighborhood and in every school building
- Implementation of a tax and regulatory environment that is fair to citizens and businesses, meets the reasonable financing needs of City government, and promotes growth and opportunity for city residents
- A political culture that favors outcomes over transactions, that is inclusive of the city’s diverse constituencies, and that stands for honor and integrity
- Leadership that inspires confidence in public actions, that engages private organizations and their stakeholders in a common cause, unites communities behind shared values and goals and that messages the outside world that Philadelphia is a leading 21st century city.
- Demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to communicate at all levels with all constituents
- Ability to set priorities and manage conflicting priorities when they arise
- Empathy and warmth
- Demonstrated track record of managing people to achieve desired outcomes
- Ability to comfortably interact with people from diverse backgrounds
- Ability to admit mistakes and ask for help
- The highest level of integrity in all interactions and dealings
- Wear team jerseys and the tees/sweatshirts of local public schools and colleges on a daily basis
- Annual Salary: Approximately $218,000
- Benefits: Health and retirement
- Ancillaries: Grief, criticism and opposition, in large doses
- Upside: You get to course-correct the future of America’s most historic city
The Ultimate Job Interview is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, the Wyncote Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit www.everyvoice-everyvote.org. Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors. This project is also made possible by the support of Diversified Search Group.