The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.
The primary roles of The U.S. Conference of Mayors are to:
- Promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy;
- Strengthen federal-city relationships;
- Ensure that federal policy meets urban needs;
- Provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and
- Create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information.
The Conference holds its Winter Meeting each January in Washington, D.C. and an Annual Meeting each June in a different U.S. city Additional meetings and events are held as directed by the Conference leadership.
The Conference President, currently Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, serves as the national spokesman for the mayors. The Vice President, currently Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Second Vice President Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith, complete the leadership team.
Mayors' Role in USCM
Conference members speak with a united voice on organizational policies and goals. Mayors contribute to the development of national urban policy by serving on one or more of the Conference's standing committees. Conference policies and programs are developed and guided by an Executive Committee and Advisory Board, as well as the standing committees and task forces which are formed to meet changing needs.
During the Conference's Annual Meeting in June, standing committees recommend policy positions they believe should be adopted by the organization. At this time, every member attending the annual meeting is given the opportunity to discuss and then vote on each policy resolution. Each city, represented by its mayor, casts one vote.
The policy positions adopted at the annual meeting collectively represent the views of the nation's mayors and are distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.
In addition to the ongoing work of the Conference's standing committees, mayors are organized into task forces to examine and act on issues that demand special attention such as homeland security, energy, hunger and homelessness, and brownfields.
In 1932, 14 million people were unemployed, lines stretched for blocks in front of soup kitchens, homeowners were unable to pay taxes, veterans were selling apples on street corners, and the nation's cities were close to bankruptcy. Responding to the appeals of mayors, Congress created a $300 million federal assistance program for cities, marking the first time in the nation's history that federal relief was provided directly to cities. In a dramatic White House meeting, a committee of three prominent mayors convinced President Herbert Hoover to sign this desperately needed municipal assistance bill.
A few months later, on the eve of the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the Mayflower Hotel just a few blocks from the White House, the charter of the Conference of Mayors was written.