Unpacking the Role of Saratoga’s Mayor

In our last issue, which was published shortly after the City of Saratoga voted (once again) to keep its commission form of government intact, we looked at its origins, how rare it is and what it actually looks like in practice. In this issue and the four issues that follow, we’ll focus in on each of the five commissioner positions and what roles they play within the city’s governmental organization. First up: the mayor!

Some notable Saratoga mayors include:

Harry E. Pettee (1918-19), who embezzled $300,000 after his term ended

Clarence H. Knapp (1924-27), a humorist and contributor to The New Yorker

Sarto J. Smaldone (1970-73), owner of the Malta Drive-In

Almeda C. Dake (1990-95), mother of Stewart’s Shops president and CEO Gary Dake

Fast facts about the position:

• The mayor is considered the “CEO of the City,” but doesn’t have any more power than the city’s four other commissioners.

• The position is technically supposed to be part time—but in actuality, it’s very much a full-time role. 

• The mayor’s annual salary is just $14,500. “It’s ridiculous,” says current Mayor Meg Kelly. “You can put that quote in there. ‘The mayor says it’s ridiculous!’ But that’s why we can’t get people to run. It’s a real big problem.”

• There’s no term limit. Addison Mallery (1936-59) was the longest-serving Saratoga mayor, logging eight two-year terms.                    

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