The Mayor of Bakersfield is the elected leader for the city. Prior to 1957, he was appointed by the city council and the head of the executive branch. After that time, the mayor was split into two positions. The city manager would be appointed by the city council and run the executive branch. The mayor would be elected by the citizens and serve as the leader for the city. He is elected to four year terms, under the single-winner voting system. There is no limit on the number of terms he can serve. His office is located at City Hall, but has no official residence.
The description for the office of mayor is largely described in Article III, Section 20 of the Bakersfield City Charter, although some duties are described elsewhere. The mayor's primary role is to represent the city to other governments and business, as well as participate in ceremonies. He does have some official powers, although some are rarely used. He is the presiding member for all city council meetings, although he can not interfere with the proceedings of the council. He also has the power to call special meetings of the city council.
Probably one of the most important roles of the mayor is to cast the deciding vote when the city council is tied. This situation is very rare since the council is made up of seven members, an odd number. The only way for the city council to be deadlocked is either an odd number of abstaining votes, or an odd number of vacancies. This brings the number of possible votes to an even number, and a tie can occur.
Except for a tie, the mayor also votes in three other occasions. He cast a vote on the appointment and removal for the City Manager, and City Attorney. The other vote relates to city contract work. After a project has been approved by the city council, and bids have either been rejected or no bids submitted, the mayor may cast a vote for turning over the work to city employees. He can not bring the matter to a vote, but only cast a vote.