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"File:Somerville City Hall.jpg" by User:Magicpiano is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
"File:Somerville City Hall.jpg" by User:Magicpiano is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

What you need to know

This article provides an overview of the election process as well as salaries, benefits, and duties of the offices open for election in Somerville this year.

For more in-depth information on the candidate process, see here.

Requirements to run:

  • Be a resident of Somerville for at least six months;
  • Be a registered voter in Somerville (for city-wide office);
  • Be a registered voter in a specific ward (to run for a ward office); 
  • File the required number of certified signatures, in a timely fashion, on Nomination Papers provided by the Election Department.

Here are the public offices open for election this year: 


Salary: $180,696

(Full Time)

The mayor oversees the executive branch of the city. Elected every two years, in the odd-numbered years, the Mayor appoints certain officers and boards, as well as a secretary. 

According to the city website and charter, the mayor has the power and is obligated to:

  • Create laws, ordinances, and orders for the city to enforce;
  • Respond to citizen inquiries and concerns about city services;
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for city government;
  • Plan and supervise the administration of executive functions;
  • Participate in the interview and hiring process of applicants at the managerial level;
  • Liaise between departments, agencies, and governmental entities;
  • Aid the communications department in public relations;
  • Assist in promoting economic development in the community;
  • Coordinate meetings of municipal boards, committees, commissions and constituents;
  • Organize and sponsor diverse city-wide public events and celebrations throughout the year.

City Councilors

Salary: $43,000, $45,000 for City Council President

(Part Time)

The city council comprises the City’s legislative branch. Members are elected every two years in the odd-numbered years. Four members serve at large, meaning they serve all of Somerville. Seven members represent individual wards. According to the city charter, the city council elects a president and vice president on the first Monday of January every year. 

The Council passes ordinances on a broad range of issues, from setting zoning laws to creating boards and commissions. It also has the power to approve or disapprove the Mayor’s budget appropriations. 

According to the city charter, the city council has the power to (all subject to the veto power of the mayor):

  • Make ordinances and to affix penalties for violations, not in excess of $300 unless permitted by the General Laws;
  • Lay out, locate anew, alter, widen and discontinue public ways and streets and to order specific repairs or a change of grade;
  • Order the construction of sidewalks and of sewers and to take real estate after a hearing.

School Committee

Salary: $15,000, $17,500 for School Committee Chair

(Part Time)

The school committee is an elected body of seven members that oversees the Somerville Public Schools. On the first Monday of January in each year, the committee elects a chairman. The chairman and remaining members work with the Superintendent to set broad policies and educational goals, develop a recommended budget for submission to the Mayor, and provide fiscal oversight of the School Department. Broadly, the school committee works to set the direction of the city’s public schools.

For more information on the school committee, visit its website.


An in-depth review of benefits for the aforementioned offices is available through the city benefits webpage.

2023 Elections Calendar

Nomination papers shall be available for candidatesMonday, May 1, 2023
Last day to obtain nomination papers by 5PMMonday, June 5, 2023
Last day to submit nomination papers to the board of election commissionersWednesday, June 7, 2023
Certification of nomination papers to be completed, filed by board of election commissionersWednesday, June 28, 2023
Names and addresses of certified candidates to be posted by the Board of Election Commissioners by 8:30AMFriday, June 30, 2023
Last day for filing withdrawals or protests with the Board of Election Commissioners by 5PMMonday, July 10, 2023
Drawing for places on the ballot, if necessary 10AMTuesday, July 11, 2023
Last day to register to vote or change address for September 19, 2023 preliminary election by 5PMFriday, September 8, 2023
Campaign finance report deadline for preliminary election by 5PMMonday, September 11, 2023
PRELIMINARY ELECTIONTuesday, September 19, 2023
Last day for filing recount petitions by 5PMMonday, September 25, 2023
Last day to register to vote or change address for November 7, 2023 City Election by 5PMFriday, October 27, 2023
ELECTIONTuesday, November 7, 2023
Last day for filing recount petitions by 5PMFriday, November 17, 2023
Year End Campaign Finance Report deadline by 5PMMonday, January 22, 2023

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service—a project of the IRS 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit Somerville Media Fund.

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Ryan DiLello is the staff reporter for the Somerville Wire

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