A person elected to a public office such as a municipal council.
Details of Alderman
An alderman may be elected by the public or by other council members or assembly members. In the instance of a city council, the aldermen would be under the mayor's direct supervision. Aldermen also often make up school boards. Some of these positions can be done part-time and are not typically the primary income source. In other cases, some positions are full-time careers that can potentially earn a substantial yearly salary.
Average citizens can run for a position in these councils to better represent their district. A benefit of electing a local citizen to a town board or city council is the representative's level of involvement with the constituents. An alderman meets with his council at set times. At monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly meetings, the representative brings their constituents' best interests forward for the council to address. Once the council has discussed an issue, it may pass solutions to resolve the problems.
Example of Alderman
An example of an alderman would be if Ray noticed that the roads' conditions in his hometown had deteriorated over the last several years. He heard many stories from his neighbors and friends about damage to tires and vehicles due to road conditions. Ray wrote a letter to his town council asking for them to fix the roads and, when he received no response, decided to go to the next town hall meeting to discuss the conditions directly with his representatives. Ray discovered a complacent town council at this meeting when they told him that the budget did not allow for road repairs this year.
Upon hearing this, Ray decided that he needed to take matters into his own hands. Ray realized the next election was only a few months away. Ray began putting together his running platform by printing flyers and walking door-to-door. He talked to the people in the district he would represent, asking each what changes they would like to see in their town. When the election came, Ray won a seat on the council.
At Ray's first meeting as an alderman, Ray brought a list of concerns from his constituents, the road conditions among them and being a top priority for many. Again, the council told Ray that the budget did not allow for road repairs, but he was determined to find a way. Ray researched and found a federal grant for infrastructure repair in small communities, wrote out a grant proposal, and submitted his application. Soon enough, the government branch in charge of the grant informed Ray that they had chosen his town as a recipient of the grant. The town contracted a local paving company and repaved the damaged roads.
Significance of Alderman
Aldermen are significant in local governments. It is their job to represent their communities' citizens, much like a smaller version of a congressman. It is critically important for the people of a nation to feel represented, heard, and taken care of by the government at all levels; in many cases, their local government has a more significant impact on day-to-day lives than the federal government at large. It is here that the government implements local improvements such as roads, education, and infrastructure. This practice opens up opportunities to introduce jobs and industry into an area.