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Job Descriptions of Elected Officials

City Council Member:


The responsibilities of a city council member generally involve determining

city government and administration policies, as well as adopting budgets and

Other Names

A city council member might also be referred to as an "alderman,"

"councilman/councilwoman," "supervisor" or a number of other names depending
on the jurisdiction.

Daily Tasks

City council members spend much of their day at committee and

subcommittee meetings where city business is discussed. City council members also
spend time meeting with citizens and representatives of groups affected by city

Job Prospects

The number of city council members varies from city to city. For example, the
New York City Council has 51 council members, while Phoenix has eight (not
including the mayor). Because of the amount of power associated with these
positions, competition for the job of city council member is high.


Compensation for members of a city council varies by size of city and scope of
responsibility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2008 average
median salary for elected local officials was $44,928.
Jersey City City Council: The City Council is the legislative branch of city
government. In Jersey City the City Council consists of 6 ward Councilpersons and 3
At large (elected City-wide) Councilpersons. One of the Councilpersons is elected by
his or her peers to serve as Council President. The council serves a four year term. It
is a part time position and each Council member is allowed 1 paid aide. The aide
position is also part time.

Mayor (Jeremiah Healy)


The requirements for mayor differ from city to city. However, there are
several fairly standard requirements that most cities, towns and municipalities have
Candidates for mayor must be registered to vote in the city or town that the position
is located in. This necessarily requires that candidates be U.S. citizens and at least 18
years old since that is the age requirement for voter registration. Most cities also
require that mayors be a resident of the city or town in which the seat is located. This
means that you cant live in Town A and become mayor of Town B.
Generally, there are no specific education or work experience requirements for this
position. However, it is highly recommended that a mayoral candidate be aware of
general government functions as well as the local customs regarding political,
socioeconomic and business climates.

Elections and Appointments

Most cities and towns elect a mayor. To get elected, potential candidates
should research the city or town charter to make sure that they meet all city-specific
requirements for candidacy. This information can be obtained by contacting the city
or town council. Many towns have specific procedures for running for an office.
However, commonly the procedure entails getting a specified number of signatures
on a petition from residents of the town and paying a filing fee to get on the ballot.
Once a candidate meets the ballot requirements, he or she should initiate a campaign
to bring in votes on electionday. This may entail posting campaign signs around
town, greeting residents door-to-door, making appearances at local events and
participating in local debates.

General Duties

Mayors are technically categorized in the executive branch of government.

This means that they do not make local laws and regulations, but they usually have
persuasive power over the creation of local regulations and the ability to veto
provisions approved by council members.
General duties for most mayors include proposing budgets, hiring and firing city
employees, creating and maintaining relationships with local businesses, monitoring
local services and utilities such as snow removal and sewage treatment plants, and

maintaining parks and roadways. This is by no means an exhaustive list of mayoral

duties, however, the listed duties tend to apply in most locations.


In general there are two different types of mayoral systems used throughout
cities in the United States: the "council-manager" form and the "mayor-council"
form. The form type does not necessarily alter the general duties of the mayor, but
rather speaks to the extent of power that the mayoral position holds.
The "council-manager" form treats the mayoral position as purely ceremonial. This
means that the mayor holds no additional powers that are distinct from the city or
town council as a whole. The mayor merely presides or officiates over council
meetings and may cast a vote that is equal in weight to any other council member.
This form tends to be used with smaller boroughs and municipalities.
**The "mayor-council" form is often used in larger cities and towns across the United
States. Under this form, the mayor acts as the chief executive officer or manager of a
city. He or she is usually not a member of the city council and therefore does not
have legislative voting power. This type of mayor does, however, have a much greater
degree of administrative power and independence in his or her decision-making
abilities. (This is Jersey Citys System)

Term Limits

Nearly all cities and towns in the United States impose term limits for the
mayoral position. The most common term limit is two consecutive four-year terms,
or a total of eight years. However, some cities have extended terms limits. For
example, in 2008, New York City's council approved proposed changes in its termlimit law extending the term from two consecutive four-year terms to three
consecutive four-year terms. All cities and towns have the power to set and amend
their own term limits. Check your city's charter to find out the term-limit provisions
that apply to your mayor. (In Jersey City the Mayor serves a 4 year term)

Congressional Representative (Donald Payne)


Congress is divided into two houses--the House of Representatives and the

Senate--and there are different qualifications for serving in each.
Representatives--the gender-neutral term for congressmen and congresswomen-must be at least 25 years old, citizens of the United States for at least seven years and
residents of the state they represent.
Senators must be at least 30 years old, United States citizens for at least nine years
and residents of the state they represent.

Election and terms

Congressmen are elected by the residents of the state they represent.

Members of the House serve for two years, and members of the Senate serve for six.
In the event that a congressman cannot complete a term, the process of replacing
that person varies from state to state. Some states hold special elections, whereas
others allow their governors to appoint a replacement.
Each state elects two senators and a varying number of representatives, based
proportionally on the state's population. The Senate has 100 members and the House
of Representatives has 435.

Responsibilities and duties

The U.S. Constitution clearly enumerates the responsibilities of Congress.

They include regulating domestic and international trade, declaring war and
maintaining and supporting the military.
Congressmen's duties vary according to their stature and party affiliation. Both of the
two major political parties have a leader in each House (called either the majority
leader or the minority leader, depending on which party has more members in the
House). Party leaders are responsible for maintaining diplomatic relations with one
another and with other branches of the government.
Each house also has many committees that focus on a particular responsibility. Some
examples include energy, veterans' affairs, housing and foreign relations. Some
committees have broad responsibilities, such as the Committee on Commerce,
Science and Transportation.
One of the most common duties of a congressman is act as a conduit between the
federal government and the local authorities and residents of the areas they
represent. A local police force, for example, might ask a congressman for help
receiving money or other services from the Department of Justice. A local unit of a
veterans' organization, such as the American Legion, might likewise ask a
congressman for support in obtaining something from the Veterans Administration.


Members of Congress receive annual salaries. They pay is not set specifically
in the Constitution. It changes according to the cost of living and other economic
conditions. The base pay for a congressman exceeds $150,000.

Checks and balances

The three branches of government -- legislative, executive and judicial -- were

given certain powers so that no one branch would have too much power. Congress,
for example, approves laws and sends them to the president. The president can
reject, or veto, those laws, but Congress can in turn override that decision.
Congress also has the sole authority of removing the president from office.

Fun fact

The vice president is the president of the Senate but votes only in the event of
a tie. The House is led by the Speaker, who stands third in the line of succession for
the presidency. Because naturalized citizens are not eligible to serve as president, the
Senate must elect a Speaker who is a natural-born citizen of the United States.

State Senator (Sandra Cunningham)

The job of a state senator is to create and pass legislation that will benefit the
citizens of his or her district, as well as the entire state. To do this, state senators
must work within their committees and form relationships with senators who have
different political views. Negotiating is a major part of a state senator's job. They
must debate and persuade other senators to support or oppose particular legislation.

Basic Duties

State senators represent small populations of citizens compared with U.S.

senators, and much of their job consists of responding to constituents' needs. Many
voters contact their state senators to request they vote a certain way for legislation or
simply to vent their frustrations. As an elected official, the state senator must reply to
the needs of the voters and keep them satisfied. Some provide monthly or quarterly
newsletters to the voters in their district.

Election Tasks

A large part of the job of a state senator is getting elected, which means that
senators must spend a great deal of time meeting with constituents and attending
fundraisers. Although their constituency is smaller than U.S. senators, state senators
generally must rely on donors to pay for television and print advertisements. State
senators who wish to advance within their political party must also raise funds on
behalf of other party members at the state and federal level, and sometimes in other


In addition to their role as negotiators within the state legislature, senators

must act in a managerial role to oversee staff and advisers. State senators who
participate in committees must oversee other committee members as well as
contractors responsible for projects within a senator's district. Public works projects,
construction, and sign placements are jobs that may require the attention of a state

Time Frame

State senators must work diligently to make their mark because many states,
including Illinois and Massachusetts, have two-year terms, leaving little time to show

voters their success. Most states place no limits on how many times a state senator
may serve. Oklahoma, however, only allows senators to serve three four-year terms
while California allows two four-year terms for state senators.

Governor (Chris Christie)

Time Frame
A governor's official term length depends on the state in which that governor

New Hampshire and Vermont are the only two states whose gubernatorial terms are
only two years. In the other 48 states, governors serve for four years.
The individual states also have different term limits for their governors. In some
states, governors can only serve one or two terms, and in others, they can serve
unlimited terms. Many states have laws on ruling for several consecutive terms.

Job Description

A governor's role is multifaceted and varied. Officially, governors are charged

with overseeing the executive branch of their state's government.
Governors, along with their staff and colleagues, create and submit budgets to the
legislature: sign or veto bills as necessary: call on the states military in times of crisis:
appoint officials to the state government: and assist in court cases.
Annually, governors give a "State of the State" address to inform citizens of the
current political and social climate within the state.


No US states require governors to have a particular degree or level

of education. However, candidates for governor must hold U.S. citizenship as well
as be a valid resident of the state. Individual states have different qualifications for
the minimum number of citizenship years necessary.
Most states also have a minimum age requirement for becoming a governor.
Most successful governors have strong leadership and communication skills, as well
as an excellent education and a history of serving successfully in local governments.

Facts and Figures

The United States has 50 governors---one for each state. State governors are
most commonly male, though several states do have female governors.
The political Web site stateline.org reports that in 2006, the average salary for a
United States governor was just under $125,000 a year. However, many governors
do not accept a salary from their state, as many of them are independently wealthy.

U.S. Senator (Robert Menendez)

Legal Requirements

A U.S. senator must be at least 30 years old, be a U.S. citizen and live in the
state in which he is elected.


Senators are assigned to serve on committees, in which they review bills, or

proposed laws. There are 20 committees, 68 subcommittees and four joint
committees. Each committee focuses on a different topic, including budget,
health, education, foreign relations, transportation and homeland security. Once a
bill is passed in committee, all senators are responsible for voting on it. The Senate
also has the power to impeach the president.

Work Environment

U.S. senators work part of the year in Washington, D.C., and part of the year
in their home state. When in Washington, they work in one of three buildings: the
Russell Senate Office Building, the Dirksen Senate Office Building and the Hart
Senate Office Building. They write and vote on laws in the Capitol.


Although not required for election, U.S. senators usually have advanced
degrees in law or political science.


In 2009, U.S. senators earned an annual salary of $174,000.

Committee Person
Job Decription: Members of a political party's Ward Executive Committee, better known as committee people,
are their partys representatives in each voting division. Committee people serve as a point of contact between the
voters in a division and elected officials and their political party. Committee people serve as a point of contact
between the voters in a division and elected officials and their political party. Committee people are considered
party officers not public officials or government employees. There can be two Democratic committee people and
two Republican committee people elected in each voting division.

Freeholder (Jefrey Dublin)

Depending on the county, the executive and legislative functions may be performed by the Board
or split. In some counties, members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders perform both legislative
and executive functions on a commission basis, with each Freeholder assigned responsibility for
a department or group of departments. In other counties
(Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Mercer), there is a directly-elected county executive who
performs the executive functions while the Board of Chosen Freeholders retains a legislative and
oversight role. In counties without an executive, a county administrator (or county manager) may
be hired to perform day-to-day administration of county functions.

President of the United States (Barack Obama)


According to the Constitution, all candidates for president must be at least 35,
and be natural born citizens and residents of the Unites States for at least 14 years.


The president enforces the laws created by Congress. He is in charge of 15

departments, each headed by a member of his Cabinet. He also leads other federal
agencies, such as the CIA.


The president cannot make laws by himself. He must create a plan that he
believes in and find someone in Congress to introduce legislation. He can lobby
members of Congress, usually from his own political party, to vote in favor of his
ideas. The president does have the power to approve or veto laws passed by
Congress, but Congress can vote to override a veto.


The president has the power to appoint judges as well as grant pardons. By
carefully selecting replacements for retiring Supreme Court judges, he can shape the
way laws are interpreted.


The president is in charge of the military and must make important decisions
regarding national security. He has a team of advisers to guide him, but ultimately
the president is in charge of a war.

Global Leader

Many countries look to the United States for leadership regarding important
global issues, such as climate change, the economy and health care. The president is
expected to attend international summits to work on these issues

Bio of late Congressman Donald Payne

Rep. Donald Pay, D-N.J., passed away on Tuesday due to complications from colon cancer.
The representative's website says he was the voice of New Jersey's 10th District since he was
elected to his first term in 1988. Payne was the first African-American to serve his state in
Washington, D.C., as a member of the U.S. House.
Payne had been a tireless public servant even before joining Congress. Here's a look at his
Early Career
Born in Newark, N.J., Payne served on the Newark Municipal Council and the Essex County
Board of Chosen Freeholders on the local level before earning higher positions in public life.
In addition to being an educator with the Newark and Passaic Public School Districts, Payne
was an executive at the Prudential Insurance Company and a vice president of Urban Data
Payne's education included a bachelor's degree from Seton Hall University before he pursued
a graduate degree at Springfield College in Massachusetts. He held six honorary doctorates.
Congressional Work
Once in Congress, Donald Payne worked for multiple causes. He was the senior member of
the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and served on various subcommittees. Payne cofounded the Malaria Caucus and has been a staunch supporter of global health by leading the
way in procuring funding for AIDS prevention and the elimination of tuberculosis in Africa.
Payne also served on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce as the senior
member. He introduced legislation crafted to help America's young people get ahead in
education. Payne was the head of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a group that
works to develop leaders in the African-American community through internships and
The White House released a statement expressing sadness at Payne's passing:
"By any standard, Don lived a full and meaningful life. After serving as the first African
American President of the National Council of YMCAs...Don went on to become the first
African American Congressman to represent the state of New Jersey.... He made it his
mission to fight for working families, increase the minimum wage, ensure worker safety,
guarantee affordable health care and improve the educational system....Don will be missed,
and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Speaker of the House John Boehner's office also praised the late Representative's work:
"I was saddened to hear of Congressman Payne's passing, and extend the prayers and
condolences of the whole House to his family and his constituents. I had the privilege to
serve with Don on the Education & the Workforce Committee, and admired his commitment
to ensuring our children get the best quality education.... Don was widely respected by his
colleagues as a dedicated public servant, and will be dearly missed."
Payne was the father of three, grandfather of four and a great-grandfather to one.

Contact Information

City Council:
Council President Peter Brennan201-547-5319-- Robert Noakes
Councilman at large Rolando R. Lavarro201-547-5268Carmen
Flores (aide) 201-547-5458
Councilwoman Viola Richardson201-547-5134Lorenzo Richardson
(aide) 201-547-5108
Ward A (Greenville) Councilman Michael Sottolano201-547-5098
Robert Rybinski (aide) 201-547-5098
Ward B Councilman (West Side) David Donnelly201-547-5092
Khemraj Ramchal (aide) 201-547-5101
Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez201-547-5159Patty A. Lynch
Ward D (The Heights) Councilman William Gaughan201-547-5485--Bridget Gaughan (aide) 201-547-6817
Ward F Counilwoman Michele Massey201-547-5338Iris Perkins
(aide) 201-547-5361
Freeholder- Jefrey Dublin201-795-6617
Mayor-Jeremiah Healy201-547-5200
Congressman Donald Payne201-369-0392
State Senator-Sandra Cunningham201-451-5100
U.S. Senator-Robert Menendez973-645-3030
Assemblyman-Charles Mainor (D)-609-292-7065
Governor-Chris Christie- 609-292-6000
President-Barack Obama202-555-1212
Office of the City Clerk-201-547-5150
County Clerk201-369-3470
Board of Elections201-369-3435