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List of mayors of Philadelphia facts for kids

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Mayor of Philadelphia
Seal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.svg
Seal of City of Philadelphia
Jim Kenney

since January 4, 2016
Term length 4 years
Inaugural holder Humphrey Morrey
Formation 1691
Salary $218,000
Website Office of the Mayor

The Mayor of Philadelphia is the chief executive of the government of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as stipulated by the Charter of the City of Philadelphia. The current Mayor of Philadelphia is Jim Kenney.


The first mayor of Philadelphia, Humphrey Morrey, was appointed by city founder William Penn. Edward Shippen was appointed by Penn as first mayor under the charter of 1701, then was elected to a second term by the City Council. Subsequent mayors, who held office for one year, were elected by the city council from among their number.

No compensation was paid to the earliest office-holders, and candidates often objected strongly to their being selected, sometimes choosing even to pay a fine rather than serve. In 1704 Alderman Griffith Jones was elected but declined to serve, for which he was fined twenty pounds. In 1706, Alderman Thomas Story was similarly fined for refusing office. In 1745, Alderman Abraham Taylor was fined thirty pounds for refusing the mayoralty; Council then elected Joseph Turner, who also refused and was likewise fined. Others who refused election included Richard Hill (1717), Isaac Norris (1722), John Mifflin and Alexander Stedman, while William Coxe pleaded illness (1758), Samuel Mifflin (1761), William Coxe and Daniel Benezet (1762), and John Barclay and George Roberts (1792). Robert Wharton declined in 1800 and 1811, amid serving for 14 one-year terms, making him the most-often-elected (16 times, including refusals) and longest-serving (14 years) mayor of Philadelphia.

In 1747, at the request of retiring Mayor William Attwood, Council resolved to institute an annual salary of 100 pounds for the office. Nevertheless, that same year, Anthony Morris secretly fled to Bucks County to avoid being notified of his election to the mayoralty. When after three days he could not be located, a new election had to be arranged, and Attwood was re-elected to a second term.

Beginning in 1826, Council could elect any citizen of Philadelphia to the mayoralty. From 1839, mayors were elected by popular vote. If no candidate won a majority of the popular vote, then the joint Councils (Select and Common) would decide between the two leading candidates. John Swift was the first mayor to be elected directly by the people in the 1840 election.

The length of the term of office was extended to two years in 1854, to three years in 1861, and to four years in 1885. A two-consecutive-term limit was instituted in 1951.

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