Is Your Mayor Raking It In? 15 U.S. Cities With the Highest-Paid Mayors

Two fictional Portland residents meet with their fictional mayor on 'Portlandia'

Two fictional Portland residents meet with their mayor on Portlandia. | IFC

If you were to peruse a list of the country’s richest politicians, you might come away with the idea that there’s big money in politics. There might be if you’re in the right position. But often, people make their fortunes before heading to the White House or Congress, rather than while they’re there. Others start amassing money after they’ve served, charging big speaking fees and writing books.

But most politicians serve and don’t become rich, simply earning the salary the job pays and slinking back to their lives. That’s because the vast majority of political posts aren’t in Washington, D.C. — they’re at the local level. The people holding these jobs work for city, county, or state governments. They do pull a salary — and often a fair one — but they’re not getting rich.

What about mayors? Surely they’re making a good living, right? According to an analysis by American City Business Journals, a select few are earning quite a bit.

By looking at mayoral salaries in 60 U.S. cities, the publication was able to determine where America’s highest-paid mayors are working. There was quite the disparity, too. “ACBJ’s research includes 41 mayors in office at the start of the year whose budgeted salary topped the $100,000 threshold, including seven who were slated to earn more than $200,000 per year. It also includes eight big-city mayors whose annual budgeted salary fell below $40,000 per year,” writes Craig Douglas, American City Business Journals’ director of editorial research and analysis.

As for the top 15? These are the cities that pay their mayors the most.

15. Baltimore, Maryland/Memphis, Tennessee (tie)

  • The mayors of both Baltimore and Memphis earn $171,000 per year.

Yes, we’re kicking our list off with two cities: Baltimore and Memphis. This is because each city pays its mayor — Catherine Pugh in Baltimore and Jim Strickland in Memphis — a salary of $171,000 per year. That seems like a lot, but as we’ll see some city officials earn much more than that in larger cities. Memphis, in this case, is unique in that only a couple of other landlocked cities make an appearance on our list.

Next: Our next city’s mayoral salary is a “mile high.”

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