Mayor of Gainesville
Mayor of the city of Gainesville, Florida
Lauren Poe

since May 10, 2016
Term lengthFour Years
renewable once
Salary$44,696.22 (as of July 1, 2022)[1]
WebsiteOffice of the Mayor

The Mayor of Gainesville is, for ceremonially purposes, receipt of service of legal processes and the purposes of military law, official head of the city of Gainesville, Florida and otherwise a member of, and chair of, the city commission, required to preside at all meetings thereof. The mayor is also allowed to vote on all matters that come before the city commission, but has no veto powers.[2]

History of the Mayor's Office

On May 26, 1866, E. W. Perry was elected intendant (mayor) when the aldermen of Gainesville met to incorporate for the first time. On April 12, 1869, Gainesville re-incorporated, and mayors were elected for one-year terms except when they filled an unexpired term. In 1891, because the city charter was amended, two general elections were held that year. From 1927 to 1997 mayors were not elected, the position being simply that of mayor-commissioner, but as of 1998 mayors are again elected,[3] initially to three year terms, but as of 2022, to four year terms.[4]


The mayor is elected in a citywide nonpartisan election using a two-round system, i.e., if no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election ensues between the two candidates who received the most votes.[5]

The mayor (like other commissioners) is elected to a four-year term (as of 2022, but currently in transition from a three-year term);[4] in any case, the mayor may not serve more than two consecutive terms, excepting following a partial term created by a vacancy; however, mayoral terms are reckoned separately from terms as another commissioner, allowing a commissioner to serve more consecutive terms by alternating between the positions.[6]


Per city code of ordinances, the mayor-commissioner pro tempore performs the functions and duties of the office of mayor in the absence of the mayor. If the mayor's seat is vacated, and less than 6 months remain in the unexpired term or until the next regular election, then the commission appoints a successor to serve until a new mayor is elected. If there is more than 6 months remaining in the term or until the next general election, the seat is filled by a special election not more than 60 days after the occurrence the vacancy.[2]

The mayor is subject to recall as provided by Florida law.[7]

Mayors of Gainesville

Image Years of service Mayor Notes / Citation
1869–? Samuel Y. Finley First mayor of Gainesville, son of Jesse J. Finley[8][3]
Walls josiah.jpg
?–1873 Josiah T. Walls First African-American mayor of Gainesville[9]
1873–? Watson Porter [9]
Portrait of W R Thomas.png
1901–1907 William Reuben Thomas
1908–1909 Horatio Davis [10]
1910–1917 Chris Matheson [11]
circa 1918 Gordon Tison [12]
1924–1925 Robert W. Davis [10]
1951 J. Milton Brownlee [10]
1952 Fred M. Cone
1953 Roy L. Purvis [10]
1953–1954 C. B. Bohannon Jr. [10][3]
1954–1955 Joseph C. Wise [10][3]
1955–1956 S. Clark Butler [3]
1956–1957 R.M. Chamberlin [3]
1957 J.M. Steadham [3]
1957–1958 Walter E. Murphree [3]
1958–1959 Myrl J. Hanes [10][3]
1959–1960 S. J. Adkins [3]
1960–1961 Harry C. Edwards [3]
1961–1962 Norwood W. Hope [3]
1962–1963 Edwin J. Andrews [3]
1963–1964 Byron M. Winn Jr. [3]
1964–1965 Howard Towles McKinney [3]
1965–1966 Edwin B. Turlington [3]
1966–1967 James G. Richardson [3]
1967–1968 Walter E. Murphree [3]
1968–1969 T.E. "Ted" Williams [3]
1969–1970 Walter E. Murphree [3]
Perry McGriff.jpg
1970–1971 Perry McGriff [13]
1971–February 1972 Neil A. Butler [3] First post-Reconstruction African-American mayor of Gainesville[14]
February 1972–March 1972 T.E. "Ted" Williams [3]
1972–1973 Richard T. Jones [3]
1973–1974 James G. Richardson [3]
1974–1975 Neil A. Butler [3]
1975–1976 Joseph W. Little [15]
1976–1977 James G. Richardson [3]
1977–1978 Aaron A. Green [3]
1978–1979 Roberta Lane Lisle [3] First female mayor of Gainesville[citation needed]
1979–1980 William M. Howard [3]
1980–1981 Mark Kane Goldstein [3]
1981–1982 Courtland A. Collier also served as mayor from 1990–1991[3]
1982–1983 Gary R. Junior [3]
1983–1984 W.E. "Mac" McEachern [3]
1984–1985 Jean Chalmers [15]
1985–1986 Gary Gordon [3]
1986–1987 Beverly Hill [3]
1987–1988 N. David Flagg [15]
1988–1989 David Coffey [15]
Cynthia Moore Chestnut.jpg
1989–1990 Cynthia Moore Chestnut [15] First female African-American mayor of Gainesville[16]
1990–1991 Courtland A. Collier [3]
Rodney L. Long 2020.jpg
1991–1992 Rodney J. Long [15]
1992–1993 Thomas McKnew [3]
1993–1994 James Painter [3]
1994–1995 Paula M. DeLaney [15]
1996–1997 Ed Jennings Sr. [3]
1997–1998 Bruce L. Delaney [15]
1998–2001 Paula M. DeLaney [15] First elected mayor of Gainesville since 1927[17]
2001–2004 Thomas D. Bussing [15]
2004–2010 Pegeen Hanrahan [15]
SHK 0171 (cropped).JPG
2010–2013 Craig Lowe [15][18]
Ed Braddy.jpg
2013–2016 Ed Braddy [19]
Lauren Poe.jpg
2016–present Lauren Poe [20][21]


  1. ^ ""Information for Candidates"". Qualifying Information. City of Gainesville, City Clerk. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Municode Library". Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Martin, Doug (July 28, 2004). "Politics: "A different sort of beast"". The Gainesville Sun. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Kim A. Barton. "Kim A. Barton: Expanded early voting part of city election changes". The Gainesville Sun. Archived from the original on January 11, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  5. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  6. ^ Gainesville, Florida's City Commission (November 12, 2019). "Eligibility". Gainesville, Florida - Code of Ordinances. Municode. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  7. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Taylor Jr., George Lansing (November 12, 2012). "Jesse Johnson Finley Marker, Gainesville, FL". University of North Florida Digital Commons.
  9. ^ a b Klingman, Peter D. Josiah Wales, Florida's Black Congressman of Reconstruction. University of Florida Press. ISBN 978-1947372122. Sometime during this period, Walls became the mayor of Gainesville. Neither the exact dates of his term in office nor a record of his administration are available, but a few details are clear. He served in the summer of 1873, resigning on or about September 1. His successor, a pro-Walls white Republican, was Watson Porter, Gainesville postmaster and physician.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Lawrence Kestenbaum (ed.). "Mayors of Gainesville, Florida". Political Graveyard. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "FLOR500: Garden 303 - Xavier Cortada, Inc". Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  12. ^ History of Florida, Past and Present: Historical and Biographical. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. 1923.
  13. ^ "Perry Colson McGriff, Jr.", Gainesville Sun, February 5, 2017
  14. ^ Rausch, Paula (July 27, 2004). "Neil Butler, politician". Gainesville Sun.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Gainesville mayors, past and present, oppose the road tax", Gainesville Sun, October 25, 2012
  16. ^ Hyson, Katie (October 11, 2021). "Candidate Q&A with Cynthia Chestnut, who hopes to return to the Gainesville City Commission, three decades later". WUFT (TV). In those 34 years, she became the first Black woman mayor of Gainesville
  17. ^ "City Commission". Gainesville, Florida Official Homepage. Archived from the original on December 5, 2000 – via Internet Archive, Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Alachua County Supervisor of Elections - Preliminary Results - Gainesville Run-off Election 2013, April 16, 2013" (PDF). April 16, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  19. ^ "Poe Defeats Braddy In Gainesville Mayoral Race",, University of Florida, March 15, 2016
  20. ^[bare URL PDF]
  21. ^[bare URL PDF]