An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council member elected by voters.[1]

The title is derived from the Old English title of ealdorman, literally meaning "elder man", and was used by the chief nobles presiding over shires.

Similar titles exist in other Germanic countries, such as the Swedish Ålderman, the Danish and West Frisian Olderman, the Dutch Ouderman, the Finnish Oltermanni and the German Ältester which all mean "elder man" or "wise man".

Usage by country


Many local government bodies used the term "alderman" in Australia. As in the way local councils have been modernised in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the term alderman has been discontinued in a number of places. For example, in the state of Queensland before 1994, rural "shires" elected "councillors" and a "chairman", while "cities" elected a "mayor" and "aldermen". Since 1994, all local and regional government areas in Queensland elect a "mayor" and "councillors." (Australian capital cities usually have a Lord Mayor). An example of the use of the term alderman is evident in the City of Adelaide.[2] Aldermen were elected from the electors in all the wards.[3]


Historically, in Canada, the term "alderman" was used for those persons elected to a municipal council to represent the wards. As women were increasingly elected to municipal office, the term "councillor" slowly replaced "alderman", although there was some use of the term "alderperson". Today, the title of "alderman" is rarely used except in some cities in Alberta and Ontario, as well as some smaller municipalities elsewhere in the country, that retain the title for historical reasons.


The title "alderman" was abolished for local authorities in the Republic of Ireland by the Local Government Act 2001, with effect from the 2004 local elections.[4] Early usage of the term mirrored that of England and Wales. Local elections since the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1919 have used the single transferable vote in multiple-member electoral areas.[5][6] In each electoral area of a borough or county borough, the first several candidates elected were styled "alderman" and the rest "councillor".[7] Someone co-opted to fill a seat vacated by an alderman would be styled "councillor".[8]

South Africa

In South Africa the term "Alderman" refers to senior members of municipal assemblies.[9] They are distinguished from ordinary councillors for their "long and distinguished service as a councillor".[10] This can be achieved either via long term of service, or through alternative means such as 'point' systems.[11]

United Kingdom

England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Although the term originated in England, it had no single definition there until the 19th century, as each municipal corporation had its own constitution. It was used in England, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland (all of Ireland being part of the United Kingdom from January 1801 until December 1922), but was not used in Scotland. Under the Municipal Reform Act 1835, municipal borough corporations consisted of councillors and aldermen. Aldermen would be elected not by the electorate, but by the council (including the outgoing aldermen), for a term of six years, which allowed a party that narrowly lost an election to retain control by choosing aldermen. This was changed by the Municipal Corporations Amendment Act 1910, so that outgoing aldermen were no longer allowed to vote.[12][13] Aldermen with voting rights were finally abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 in 1974, except for the Greater London Council and the London borough councils, where they remained a possibility until 1977/1978.[14] County councils also elected aldermen, but not rural district and urban district councils.

Councils in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland still have the power to create honorary aldermen, as a reward for their services as a councillor, doing so at a special meeting to pass the title approved by two-thirds of those attending.[15] This power is used much more often in Northern Ireland than in England or Wales, where councils may additionally designate up to a quarter of their elected councillors as aldermen.

In the City of London, but nowhere else, aldermen are still elected for each of the wards of the City, by the regular electorate, and until 2004 could hold office for life, but now have a term of not more than six years. They form the Court of Aldermen. To be a candidate to be Lord Mayor of the City of London, it is necessary to be an alderman and to have been a sheriff of the City of London.

"Alderman" is used for both men and women and may be prefixed to a person's name (e.g., Alderman John Smith, Alderman Smith or, for women, Alderman Mrs (or Miss) Smith).


In Scotland, the office of "baillie" bore some similarities to that of Alderman in England and Wales.

United States

A "board of aldermen" is the governing executive or legislative body of many cities and towns in the United States. The term is sometimes used instead of city council, but it can also refer to an executive board independent of the council, or to what is essentially an upper house of a bicameral legislature (as it was in New York City until the 20th century). Its members are called "Alderman."

Some cities, such as Chicago, IL, mix the two terms, whereas, some cities such as, Kenosha, WI identify Aldermen as Alderpersons to recognize both males and females as members of the City Council without prejudices. Some states such as Pennsylvania established aldermen in the 19th century to serve as local judges for minor infractions. Pennsylvania's aldermen were phased out in the early 20th century. Depending on the jurisdiction, an alderman could have been part of the legislative or judicial local government. Boards of aldermen are used in many rural areas of the United States as opposed to a larger city council or city commission.

Historically the term could also refer to local municipal judges in small legal proceedings (as in Pennsylvania[16] and Delaware).

See also


  1. ^ "Alderman". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. 2010. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Adelaide – City Council, Town Hall and Allied Matters". Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Microsoft Word - 7540 ACC Rep Review Stage 1 Consultants Report FINAL - Volume 2.doc" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  4. ^ O'Sullivan, Terry (2003). "Local Areas and Structures". In Callanan, Mark; Keogan, Justin F. (eds.). Local Government in Ireland: Inside Out. Institute of Public Administration. p. 49. ISBN 9781902448930. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  5. ^ Deignan, Patrick (May – June 2009). "PR & the Sligo borough election of 1919". History Ireland. 17 (3). Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Local Elections in Ireland". Ireland: Citizens Information Board. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2017. The electoral system is based on proportional representation with single transferable vote.
  7. ^ Originally "Local Government (Ireland) Act 1919". Wikisource. 3 June 1919. Section 4 (2). Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Local Government Act, 1941, Section 42". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  9. ^ Policy: Conferment of Aldermanship on Councillors of the West Coast District Municipality. West Coast District Municipality.
  10. ^ Policy Relating to the Conferment of Civic Honours. Sedibeng Municipality.
  11. ^ "Councillor made alderman | IOL". Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  12. ^ kclancy. "Stoke-on-Trent memories of politician Terry Crowe". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Aldermen in Municipal Boroughs Bill (Hansard, 20 July 1910)". 20 July 1910. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  14. ^ Minors, Michael; Grenham, Dennis (March 2007). "London Borough Council Elections 4 May 2006". Greater London Authority. ISBN 9781852612320. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  15. ^ Local Government Act 1972 Part XII Section 249 (1)
  16. ^ "Have Pittsburgh city councilors ever been called "aldermen"? I used to see "alderman" signs on an old building". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
2019 Chicago aldermanic elections

The 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections took place in two rounds on February 26 and April 2, 2019 to elect 50 aldermen to the Chicago City Council. Each alderman represents one of Chicago's 50 wards. The elections are non-partisan and use a two-round system where the top two finishers compete in a second-round run-off if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round. The elections are concurrent with the 2019 mayoral election, as well as elections for City Clerk and City Treasurer.Of the 50 incumbent aldermen, 45 are running for re-election. Incumbents are not running in the 20th, 22nd, 25th, 39th, and 47th wards. As of January 2019, five aldermen are running unopposed: Brian Hopkins (2nd ward), Scott Waugespack (32nd ward), Gilbert Villegas (36th ward), Brendan Reilly (42nd ward), and Nicholas Sposato (38th ward).In the first round election in February, three aldermen were defeated by challengers and 10 incumbents were forced into run-off elections. There were 14 run-off races in total.

2019 Chicago mayoral election

The 2019 Chicago mayoral election was the 2019 edition of the quadrennial elections held to determine the Mayor of the city of Chicago, Illinois. The election was held on February 26, 2019. Since no candidate received a majority of votes, a runoff election was held on April 2, 2019 between the two candidates with the most votes, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff election, becoming mayor-elect of Chicago. Lightfoot is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2019.The election was officially nonpartisan, with its winner being elected to a four-year term. The elections were concurrent with the 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections to elect all 50 members of the Chicago City Council, as well as with elections for City Clerk of Chicago and City Treasurer of Chicago.

Incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel initially announced he would run for a third term but withdrew in September 2018. Emanuel was first elected in 2011 (winning in the first round with 55.19% of the vote) and reelected in 2015 (receiving 55.7% of the vote in the runoff election).

The runoff was historic, as it assured Chicago would elect its first African-American female mayor, and its second female mayor overall, after Jane Byrne. Not only will Lightfoot be the first African-American woman mayor in Chicago's history, but she will be the first openly LGBT person to lead Chicago. When Lightfoot is sworn in, she will head the largest city won by an African American woman, as well as the largest by an openly LGBT person, in United States history.

Chicago City Council

The Chicago City Council is the legislative branch of the government of the City of Chicago in Illinois. It consists of 50 aldermen elected from 50 wards to serve four-year terms. The Chicago City Council is gaveled into session regularly, usually monthly, to consider ordinances, orders, and resolutions whose subject matter includes code changes, utilities, taxes, and many other issues. The presiding officer of the council is the Mayor of Chicago. The secretary is the City Clerk of Chicago. Both positions are city-wide elected offices. The Chicago City Council Chambers are located in Chicago City Hall, as are the downtown offices of the individual aldermen and staff.

Established in 1837 as the Common Council and renamed to the "City Council" in 1872, it assumed its modern form of 50 wards electing one alderman each in 1923.

Court of Aldermen

The Court of Aldermen is an elected body forming part of the City of London Corporation. The Court of Aldermen is made up of the twenty five aldermen of the City of London, presided over by the Lord Mayor (who is one of the aldermen). The court was originally responsible for the entire administration of the City, but most of its responsibilities were subsumed by the Court of Common Council in the fourteenth century. The Court of Aldermen meets nine times a year in the Aldermen's Court Room at Guildhall. Some of the remaining duties of the Court include approving people for Freedom of the City and approving the formation of new livery companies, appointing the Recorder of London and acting as the verderers of Epping Forest.

Dorothy Tillman

Dorothy Jean Tillman (née Wright; May 12, 1947) is an American politician, civil rights activist and former Chicago, Illinois alderman. Tillman served as the alderman of the city's 3rd Ward (map) from 1985 until 2007. A member of the Democratic Party, representing part of the city's South Side in the Chicago City Council. As an Alderman, Tillman was a strong advocate of reparations for slavery. In April 2007, Tillman was defeated in a runoff election by challenger Pat Dowell. Tillman defeated Dowell in 2003. Prior to her career as an alderman, Tillman was active in the Civil Rights Movement, working for Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as an activist. Tillman was known for wearing large hats and has cultivated this image as her trademark [3]

Fred Alderman

Frederick Pitt "Fred" Alderman (June 24, 1905 – September 15, 1998) was an American sprint runner who won a gold medal in 4 × 400 m relay at the 1928 Summer Olympics. He also won the NCAA Championships in 100 yd (91 m) and 220 yd (200 m) and IC4A Championships in 440 yd (400 m) in 1927.At the 1928 Olympic trials Alderman set his personal best in the 400 m at 48.0 seconds, but did much worse at the Games, at estimated 49.4 s. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon while at Michigan State College. In 1992, he was inducted into the initial class of the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Grady Alderman

Grady Alderman (December 10, 1938 – April 5, 2018) was an American football player and executive. He played professionally as an offensive tackle for 16 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), mostly with the Minnesota Vikings.

Jim Rodgers (politician)

Jim Rodgers OBE is a politician from Northern Ireland who was previously the High Sheriff of Belfast, (succeeded by Incumbent Alderman Thomas Haire 16 January 2017) the judicial representative of the sovereign in Belfast. He is an elected Councillor and appointed Alderman at Belfast City Council.

Kelsey Grammer

Allen Kelsey Grammer (born February 21, 1955) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, singer, producer, director, writer and activist, best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. He has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and one Tony Award, and has also worked as a television producer, director, and writer.

List of mayors of Toronto

Below is a list of Mayors of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Toronto's first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie was appointed in 1834 after his Reform coalition won the new City of Toronto's first election, and Mackenzie was chosen by the Reformers. Toronto's 65th and current mayor, John Tory, took office December 1, 2014.

List of municipalities in Tennessee

Tennessee is a state located in the Southern United States. There are 346 municipalities in the state of Tennessee. Municipalities in the state are designated as "cities" or "towns". As of the 2010 U.S. Census, 3,564,494 Tennesseans, or just over 56% of the state's total population of 6,346,105, resided in municipalities. The remainder resided in unincorporated areas.

Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman (born 1974) is an English novelist and game writer. Her novel, The Power, won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017.

Pieter Litjens

Pieter Jan Marie Litjens (born 17 May 1968) is a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). He is an Alderman in Amsterdam since 18 June 2014.

Litjens previously served as an Alderman for the Amsterdam borough Zuidoost from April 2002 until August 2006. He was selected as the Mayor of Aalsmeer serving from 15 August 2007 until 20 September 2012 when he was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands after the Dutch general election of 2012. After the Dutch municipal elections of 2014 he became a Alderman in Amsterdam on 18 June 2014.

Quilley School

Quilley School, originally called Alderman Quilley, was a secondary school in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England. The enrollment in 2016 was 570 pupils.The school was founded by Edward John Quilley in 1963, opened in 1964 as a comprehensive mixed secondary school for 11- to 16-year-olds. The Head was Mrs Hayter.

In March 2016 it was announced that the school would be merging with the Crestwood College for Business and Enterprise as of September 2016. Falling enrollment and low exam results over the past three years were cited as the reasons for the merger. The former Quilley site is now the Cherbourg Campus of the merged schools.

Terry Alderman

Terence Michael Alderman (born 12 June 1956) is a former Australian international cricketer who played primarily as a right-arm fast-medium bowler.

He began his first-class cricket career in 1974 with Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield and came to international prominence when he was chosen for the Australian national team to tour England in 1981. He was a poor batsman, passing fifty just once in his career and averaging barely eight in first-class cricket. He had three seasons in English county cricket, with Kent County Cricket Club in 1984 and 1986 and with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in 1988.

In the 1981 Ashes series he took 42 Test wickets, including nine on debut, the biggest haul in a series since Jim Laker's 46 in 1956 and the fourth-highest total of all time. Alderman's 42 wickets is the record for the most wickets taken in a series without taking 10 wickets in a match. He was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the Almanack's 1982 edition.

He was injured and unable to play for over a year by a shoulder injury sustained on 13 November 1982 when he rashly tackled an English-supporting ground invader at the WACA Ground in Perth.Alderman took part in an unofficial Australian tour of South Africa in 1985–86 and 1986–87, when that country was banned from Test cricket as a Commonwealth anti-apartheid sanction. As a result, he received a 3-year ban from international cricket which disqualified him from playing in the 1985 Ashes series in England.

Following his suspension, Alderman returned to the Australian side and resumed his success against England, taking 41 wickets in the 1989 Ashes series and another 16 in the 1990–91 series, his final Ashes appearance. He rarely enjoyed similar success against other countries. His final Test series was against the West Indies in 1990–91, where he ended his career with 170 Test wickets.

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