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Chicago City Hall, shortly before construction was completed in 1911.
Chicago City Hall, shortly before construction was completed in 1911.

The government of the City of Chicago, Illinois, United States is divided into executive and legislative branches. The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive, elected by general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the various departments. In addition to the mayor, Chicago's two other citywide elected officials are the City Clerk and the treasurer.

The City Council is the legislative branch and is made up of 50 aldermen, one elected from each ward in the city.[1] The council takes official action through the passage of ordinances and resolutions and approves the city budget.[2] Government priorities and activities are established in a budget ordinance usually adopted each November.


Generally speaking, the mayor and city departments comprise the executive branch of the city government, and the city council comprises the legislative branch.[3] However, the mayor does have some formal legislative functions such as being the presiding officer of the council and being able to break tie votes, and informally has dominated legislative activity since the late 19th century.[4][5] On the other hand, the council has oversight authority over city departments.[6] The city treasurer and city clerk are the only other directly elected positions in the city government, and are independent from the mayor's office and the council.[5]

City Council

See also: Chicago City Council


See also: Mayor of Chicago

City departments and agencies

The below city departments and agencies operate as part of the executive branch, under the Office of the Mayor.[7]

Finance and Administration[edit]

Legislative and Elections[edit]

City Development[edit]

Community Services[edit]

Public Safety[edit]


Infrastructure Services[edit]

Public Enterprise[edit]

City Clerk

See also: City Clerk of Chicago

City Treasurer

See also: City Treasurer of Chicago

Other city agencies

Other city-level government bodies include:


Further information: Law of Illinois

Chicago is a special charter municipality.[9] The Journal of the Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Chicago is the official publication of the acts of the City Council.[10] The Municipal Code of Chicago is the codification of Chicago's local ordinances of a general and permanent nature.[10][11]


Main article: Political history of Chicago

Other governments

Chicago is also part of Cook County. The Government of Cook County is primarily composed of the Board of Commissioners, other elected officials such as the Sheriff, State's Attorney, Treasurer, Board of Review, Clerk, Assessor, Recorder, Circuit Court judges and Circuit Court Clerk, as well as numerous other officers and entities. Illinois State police also operate in Chicago.

Other agencies that operate in the city of Chicago include the Chicago Transit Authority and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, both of which were created by the state government of Illinois.

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Chicago. The main Chicago Post Office is located at 433 West Harrison Street in the Near West Side community area.[12][13] The post office is the only 24-hour post office in the United States.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "City Council, Your Ward & Alderman". City of Chicago. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Chicago Government". City of Chicago. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  3. ^ "City of Chicago :: Chicago Government". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  4. ^ Dumke, Mick (2019-02-25). "At Chicago City Hall, the Legislative Branch Rarely Does Much Legislating". ProPublica. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  5. ^ a b "Government, City of Chicago". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  6. ^ g.angelo (2015-09-21). "Rules of Order". City Clerk of Chicago. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  7. ^ Office of the Mayor of Chicago (2019). "City of Chicago 2019 Budget Overview" (PDF). p. 55. Retrieved 2019-06-04. City of Chicago Organizational Chart
  8. ^ "Chicago FPC Service". Chicago FPC Service. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  9. ^ "Charters, Municipal". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b Julia Ellis, Chicago City Clerk Legislative Counsel (20 November 2013). The Making of Chicago City Law - How It Works. OpenGov Foundation / YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  11. ^ Chicago City Council Journal of 27 June 1990 Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, p. 17764
  12. ^ "Major Office Buildings." Chicago City and Neighborhood Guide. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
  13. ^ "Richard Wright Immortalized on Postage Archived 2009-04-12 at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. April 8, 2009. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
  14. ^ "New York City's main post office stops 24-hour service." Associated Press. Friday April 17, 2009. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.