The Mayor, who is elected by the Corporation from amongst the councilors is the embodiment of the community, the symbol of Civic unity. Mayoralty is held in deep respect. The respect demands that the Mayor abstain himself/herself from controversial activities. The prime qualification for a Mayor to be successful is a goodwill enjoyed by him/her of all, irrespective of party affiliations. This is necessary in the interest of smooth and orderly functioning of the House over which he/she presides. The actual working of the Mayoral office has generally shown that it exercises greatest influence on the Corporation's politics and policies. The personality and character of the Mayor, his/her political background and the prestige and aura of his/her office help in securing support for his/her policies as also influencing the business of the House.
In a democratic country like ours, the Mayor symbolizes unity in diversity. Mayors have two distinct roles- the decorative role of representing and upholding the dignity of the city and the functional role of presiding over the deliberations of the Corporation. As the presiding authority at the Corporation Meetings, his/her role is confined to the four corners of the Corporation Hall. The decorative role, however, extends far beyond the city and the country to other parts of world. This is seen whenever a foreign dignitary or a V.V.I.P. visits the city and the State Government invites the Mayor to receive the honored guest on behalf of the Citizens. Thus, when the Mayor receives or sees the guest off, he does it on behalf of all the citizens of Mumbai. Similarly, when the Mayor accords a civic reception or presents a civic address to a Monarch, or a President or a Prime Minister of any country, he does so in the name of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and the citizens of Mumbai. In such situations, the Mayor is seen as the First Citizen. Mayor is also given a place of prominence at Civic, Government and other social functions.
On the wider horizon of the history of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation can be seen a glittering galaxy of powerful personalities who have occupied the office of the Mayor. Many of them were illustrious men of high political stature.