Mayors in Ohio are the chief executive officers for their municipalities. Under Ohio state law, mayors serve four-year terms, and each term begins on Jan. 1 of the year following the election. The mayors of Ohio cities have the power to appoint the directors of public safety and service, as well as any directors of these agencies' subsidiary departments. Mayors of Ohio villages also are the presidents of their respective legislative authorities, but although they preside at the meetings, they do not vote except as a tiebreaker.
As defined by Ohio statutes, a municipality may be either a village or a city. Cities are municipalities with either 5,000 or more registered voters at the time of the most recent general election or a population of at least 5,000 as of the most recent federal census. All other municipalities receive the designation of villages.
Village mayoral candidates must be residents of the village for at least the 12 months immediately prior to the election. To run for mayor in a city, the candidate must reside within the city limits, but Ohio statutes do not state a minimum length of residency.
All candidates must be at least 18 years of age by the election date. Ohio law requires candidates for mayor to be registered voters in the city or village in which they are seeking election.
Financing the Campaign
Candidates may use their personal funds to pay filing fees when they declare their candidacy. However, before making any further expenditures or receiving any contributions, the candidate must file a Designation of Treasurer form with the elections board. If campaigning for mayor of a city, candidates must file a Personal Financial Disclosure Statement with the Ohio Ethics Commission. Ohio statues require candidates to file campaign finance reports, but local candidates may file a waiver relieving them of such reporting if they meet the qualifications: the mayor's salary must be no more than $5,000; total campaign contributions cannot exceed $2,000; no donor may contribute more than $100; and campaign expenditures cannot exceed $2,000.