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A Description of Elected Offices and Their Official Websites

U.S.

New York State

New York City


The PRESIDENT is the head of state and head of government of the United States, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress. To that end, he appoints the heads of federal agencies, including the Cabinet, which carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. The President also appoints federal judges, ambassadors, and the heads of independent federal commissions.

The President can either sign legislation into law or veto bills enacted by Congress. The President conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify existing laws. The President also has the power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes.

The President is elected to a four-year term, and receives an annual salary of $400,000. Visit the President's website.

 

The legislative branch of the United States is a bicameral body composed of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE, which together form the United States Congress.  The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact or change laws, the right to confirm or reject many presidential appointments, and significant powers of investigation and oversight.  In order to pass laws, the House of Representatives and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote.  The passed bill is then sent to the president to be signed into law or vetoed.

The United States Senate is made up of 100 Senators.  Each of the 50 states has 2 Senators.  Senators are elected for six-year terms by the people of each state, and receive an annual salary of $174,000.  Visit the U.S. Senate's website or go directly to the listing of New York's two senators.

The House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members, divided among the 50 states based on each state’s population.  New York State is represented by 29 Representatives, of which 14 represent New York City.  Representatives are elected for two-year terms by the people of their Congressional district, and receive an annual salary of $174,000.  Visit the U.S. House of Representatives's website.

 

The GOVERNOR of New York is the State's Chief Executive Officer and is charged with a number of responsibilities such as executing and enforcing the state’s laws, preparing the state's executive budget, and acting as Commander-in-Chief of
New York's military and naval forces. The governor has the power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons for most crimes. The governor is elected for a term of four years, and receives an annual salary of $179,000. The LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR is chosen on a joint ticket with the governor.  If the Office of Governor is vacated, the lieutenant governor will assume all duties and powers of the governor for the remainder of the four-year term.  The lieutenant governor acts as president of the State Senate and may cast the deciding vote if a State Senate vote is tied.  The lieutenant governor receives an annual salary of $151,500. Visit the Governor's website.

 

The COMPTROLLER is the Chief Fiscal Officer of the state.  In that role, the state comptroller is responsible for administering the New York State and Local Retirement System for the state’s public employees, conducting audits of state agencies and public benefit corporations, overseeing the fiscal affairs of local municipalities, including New York City, and managing the state’s assets and issuing debt. The comptroller is elected for a term of four years, and receives an annual salary of $151,500. Visit the State Comptroller's website.

 

The ATTORNEY GENERAL is the state’s chief legal officer and head of the Department of Law.  As head of the Department of Law, the attorney general serves as the guardian of the legal rights of New Yorkers, their organizations, and the state’s natural resources.  As chief legal officer, the attorney general advises the executive branch of state government and defends state actions. The attorney general’s office is charged with powers to protect consumers and investors, charitable donors, the public health and environment, civil rights, and the rights of workers and businesses throughout the state.  The attorney general is elected for a term of four years, and receives an annual salary of $151,500. Visit the Attorney General's website.

 

The legislature is the lawmaking branch of state government.  It is a bicameral, or two-house, body composed of the
STATE SENATE and the STATE ASSEMBLY.  The Senate consists of 62 members, 26 of whom represent parts of New York City.  The Assembly consists of 150 members.

The Senate and Assembly propose laws which may be introduced in either house.  A bill passed by one house must be passed in the same form by the other house before it can be sent to the governor for a signature or veto.  The lawmaking powers of the legislature include the appropriation of funds for the operation of the state and aid to local government, establishing criminal laws and penalties, and the promotion of the public welfare. Members of both houses of the legislature are elected for a term of two years, and receive an annual salary of $79,500.  The Assembly speaker receives an additional $41,500 per year.  Visit the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate websites.

 

The MAYOR is the chief executive officer of the City of New York, responsible for the effectiveness and integrity of city government operations. Some of the many duties of the mayor include appointing and removing agency heads and commissioners for mayoral agencies, appointing members to many public authorities, commissions, and boards, and proposing a budget for New York City. In addition, the mayor has the power to veto the City Council’s legislation and land-use decisions. The mayor earns an annual salary of $225,000. Visit the Mayor's website.

 

As the city’s “ombudsman,” or go-between, the job of the PUBLIC ADVOCATE includes monitoring the operation of the public information and service complaint programs of city agencies, and investigating, and trying to resolve complaints about many city services. In the mayor’s absence, the public advocate acts as the mayor; in the case of a vacancy, the public advocate acts as mayor until a special election is held. The public advocate earns an annual salary of $165,000. Visit the Public Advocate's website.

 

The COMPTROLLER is the city's chief financial officer. The comptroller's responsibilities include: keeping the mayor and the City Council informed about the city's financial condition;  making recommendations about the operations, fiscal policies, and financial transactions of the city; auditing city agencies and investigating all matters concerning the city's finances; registering and auditing contracts; issuing and selling city bonds; managing the city-held sinking funds and other trust and pension funds; and performing analysis to eliminate waste and fraud in city operations. The comptroller earns an annual salary of $185,000. Visit the Comptroller's website.

 

The BOROUGH PRESIDENTS are the chief executives of each borough. They have the power, for their boroughs, to consult with the mayor in the preparation of the annual executive budget; to make recommendations on budget priorities, capital projects, and other matters; to review land-use decisions and proposed sites for city facilities; to monitor the delivery of city services and the performance of contracts; and to have legislation introduced in the City Council. Borough presidents earn an annual salary of $160,000. Visit the website of the borough president in: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island.


The CITY COUNCIL is the legislative, or law-making, branch of New York City’s government. The City Council is responsible for passing local laws, making decisions about land use, investigating and overseeing city agencies, and approving the city’s budget. Each Council member represents one of the 51 New York City Council districts. Council members receive an annual base salary of $112,500. Council leaders and chairs of committees receive additional pay. Council members may hold other jobs in addition to their Council seats. Visit the City Council's website.