The Mayors of Cambridge since 1893
(initial information provided by Glenn Koocher, expanded by Robert Winters)
The Cambridge City Council has existed since 1916. Prior to that time, a Common Council existed as a lower house from 1846 through the end of 1915, and a Board of Alderman served from 1888 through the end of 1915. Not until 1942 did the Mayor chair the City Council.

Mayors 1846 - 1942 (prior to Plan E Charter)
James D. Green, 1846 - 1847
Sidney Willard, 1848 - 1850
George Stevens, 1851 - 1852
James D. Green, 1853
Abraham Edwards, 1854
Zebina L. Raymond, 1855
John Sargent, 1856 - 1859
James D. Green, 1860 - 1861
Charles Theo. Russell, 1861 - 1862
George C. Richardson, 1863
Zebina L. Raymond, 1864
J. Warren Merrill, 1865 - 1866
Ezra Parmenter, 1867
Charles H. Saunders, 1868 - 1869
Hamlin R. Harding, 1870 - 1871
Henry O. Houghton, 1872
Isaac Bradford, 1873 - 1876
Frank A. Allen, 1877
Samuel L. Montague, 1878 - 1879
James M. W. Hall, 1880
James A. Fox, 1881 - 1884
William E. Russell, 1885 - 1888
Henry H. Gilmore, 1889 - 1890
Alpheus B. Alger, 1891 - 1892
William Bancroft, Jan 1893 - Jan 1897
Alvin F. Sortwell, Jan 1897 - Jan 1899
Edgar R. Champlin, Jan 1899 - Jan 1901
David T. Dickinson, Jan 1901 - Jan 1902
John H.H. McNamee, Jan 1902 - Jan 1904
Augustine J. Daly, Jan 1904 - Jan 1906
Charles H. Thurston, Jan 1906 - Jan 1907
Walter C. Wardwell, Jan 1907 - Apr 1909
William F. Brooks, Apr 1908 - Apr 1911
J. Edward Barry, Apr 1911 - Apr 1914
Timothy W. Good, Apr 1914 - Dec 1915
Wendell D. Rockwood, Jan 1916 - Jan 1918
Edward W. Quinn, Jan 1918 - Jan 1930
Richard M. Russell, Jan 1930 - Jan 1936
John D. Lynch, Jan 1936 - Jan 1938
John W. Lyons, Jan 1938 - July 22, 1941
Francis C. Sennott, July 23, 1941 - Jan 1 1942

City Council Presidents 1916-1941
Edward J. Dunphy, 1916 - 1917
John P. Good, 1918
James T. Barrett, 1919 - 1924
John J. McCarthy, 1925 - 1926
Timothy F. Murphy, 1926 - 1929
Joseph M. Stokes, 1930
Jeremiah J. O'Connor, 1931
Timothy F. Murphy, 1932
John J. Foley, 1933 - 1934
John W. Lyons, 1935
Thomas F. Gibson, 1936
Thomas McNamara, 1937 - 1939
Francis Sennott, 1940 - July, 1941

Plan E Mayors (1941-present)
John H. Corcoran, 1942-1943
John H. Corcoran, 1944-1945 (died Dec 28, 1945)
John D. Lynch, 1946-1947
Michael Neville, 1948-1949
Edward Crane, 1950-1951
Joseph DeGuglielmo, 1952-1953
John J. Foley, 1954-1955
Edward Sullivan, 1956-1957
Tom McNamara, 1958-1959
Edward Crane, 1960-1961
Edward Crane, 1962-1963
Edward Crane, 1964-1965
Daniel Hayes, 1966-1967
Walter Sullivan, 1968-1969
Alfred Vellucci, 1970-1971
Barbara Ackermann, 1972-1973
Walter Sullivan, 1974-1975
Alfred Vellucci, 1976-1977
Thomas Danehy, 1978-1979
Francis Duehay, 1980-1981
Alfred Vellucci, 1982-1983
Leonard Russell, 1984-1985 (died June 16, 1985)
Francis Duehay, 1985
Walter Sullivan, 1986-1987
Alfred Vellucci, 1988-1989
Alice Wolf, 1990-1991
Kenneth Reeves, 1992-1993
Kenneth Reeves, 1994-1995
Sheila Russell, 1996-1997
Francis Duehay, 1998-1999
Anthony Galluccio, 2000-2001
Michael A. Sullivan, 2002-2003
Michael A. Sullivan, 2004-2005
Kenneth Reeves, 2006-2007
E. Denise Simmons, 2008-2009
David Maher, 2010-2011
Henrietta Davis, 2012-2013
David Maher, 2014-present

Jan 6, 2014 - It's Mayor Maher

It was a rollercoaster of a mayoral vote this morning, but the new City Council finally did get the job done. Here's a rundown (using the initials of councillors and mayoral candidates in the tally):

EVENT DB DC LC CK DM NM MM DS TT RESULT
Ballot #1 DM LC LC DS DM DS DM DS DM Maher 4, Simmons 3, Cheung 2
Ballot #2 DM LC LC LC DM LC DM DS DM Maher 4, Cheung 4, Simmons 1
Simmons switch to Maher DM LC LC LC DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 4
Cheung switch to Simmons DM LC DS LC DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 3, Simmons 1
Kelley switch to Simmons DM LC DS DS DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 2, Simmons 2
Carlone switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM LC DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 3, Cheung 1
Mazen switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 4
Simmons switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DS DM Simmons 5, Maher 4
Benzan switch to Simmons DS DS DS DS DM DS DM DS DM Simmons 6, Maher 3
Mazen switch to Kelley DS DS DS DS DM CK DM DS DM Simmons 5, Maher 3, Kelley 1
Carlone switch to Kelley DS CK DS DS DM CK DM DS DM Simmons 4, Maher 3, Kelley 2
Ballot #3 DM LC LC DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Cheung 2, Simmons 2
Cheung switch to Simmons DM LC DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 3, Cheung 1
Carlone switch to Simmons DM DS DS DS DM DS DM DM DM Maher 5, Simmons 4

It is worth noting that at the end of Ballot #3, Denise Simmons could have once again changed her vote to herself (giving her a majority) but chose not to do so - perhaps due to the belief that this would lead to just another cycle of vote changes.

After Mayor Maher took the oath of office, the City Council then proceeded to the vote for Vice Chair. Though not initially unanimous for Dennis Benzan, Denise Simmons moved that the vote be made unanimous and there was no objection.

Congratulations to Mayor David Maher and to Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan! - RW


Feb 22, 2012 - The Cambridge City Council tonight unanimously elected Henrietta Davis as Mayor and E. Denise Simmons as Vice-Chair of the City Council. The 5th and deciding vote was cast by Councillor Minka vanBeuzekom. After that, the remaining councillors changed their votes to Henrietta Davis to make the vote unanimous. Denise Simmons was then also unanimously elected as Vice Chair of the City Council.


Feb 22, 2010 - The Cambridge City Council tonight unanimously elected David Maher as Mayor and Henrietta Davis as Vice-Chair of the City Council.


Jan 14, 2008 - The Cambridge City Council today unanimously elected E. Denise Simmons to be Mayor and Brian Murphy to be Vice-Chair of the City Council. For the record, the mayoral vote (the 2nd ballot officially) initially had Davis, Kelley, Murphy, Reeves, Seidel, and Simmons voting for Denise Simmons; Maher and Toomey voting for Tim Toomey; and Decker voting “present” (I won't even bother trying to figure that one out). David Maher then asked to change his vote to Simmons and make the vote unanimous. Decker then changed her vote to Simmons and City Clerk Margaret Drury gaveled the vote closed before Councillor Toomey had a chance to weigh in - declaring the vote unanimous even though no such vote was taken. I suppose you could argue that the vote was actually an 8-1 vote for Simmons since the rules are clear that the vote is final when the gavel drops. Nonetheless, Councillor Toomey did ask to have his vote changed to Denise Simmons after she had already been sworn in. Let's just call it unanimous, regardless of the technicalities.

The vote for Vice-Chair of the City Council (traditionally called Vice-Mayor) came next. In the initial vote, all councillors except Decker voted for Brian Murphy. Decker again voted “present”. Only afterwards did she join the others as she changed her vote to Murphy to make the vote unanimous.


Jan 2, 2006 - The Cambridge City Council today elected Kenneth E. Reeves to be Mayor and Timothy J. Toomey to be Vice-Chair of the City Council. The mayoral vote went like this:
Davis, Kelley, Murphy, Simmons - voted for Denise Simmons
Decker, Galluccio, Reeves, Sullivan, Toomey - voted for Ken Reeves
Murphy, Davis, and Simmons then changed their votes to Reeves. Final vote: 8-1 to elect Ken Reeves

The vote for Vice-Chair went like this:
Davis, Kelley, Murphy, Simmons - voted for Brian Murphy
Decker, Galluccio, Reeves, Sullivan, Toomey - voted for Tim Toomey
Murphy, Davis, Kelley, and Simmons then changed their votes to Toomey. Final vote: 9-0 to elect Tim Toomey

Later in the day, the School Committee unanimously elected Fred Fantini as Vice-Chair.


Jan 5, 2004 - Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
The Cambridge City Council today once again elected Michael A. Sullivan to be mayor for the 2004-2005 City Council term. Mayor Sullivan was once again elected on the 1st ballot. The initial vote went like this:
Voting for Sullivan: Decker, Galluccio, Reeves, Sullivan, Toomey
Voting for Davis: Davis, Maher, Murphy, Simmons
Once these votes were on the table, Brian Murphy changed his vote to Reeves. Denise Simmons then did so as well. If one more person (other than Reeves or Decker) had also changed to Reeves, things may have become quite interesting, but that third vote did not materialize. If it had, one could surmise that Reeves might then have voted for himself, and I would expect Decker to have then provide the 5th vote. In the end the final tally was:
Sullivan (5 votes): Decker, Galluccio, Reeves, Sullivan, Toomey
Davis (2 votes): Davis, Maher
Reeves (2 votes): Murphy, Simmons

After Mayor Sullivan was sworn in, the Council elected Marjorie Decker to be Vice-Chair of the City Council. The initial votes was:
Voting for Decker: Decker, Galluccio, Reeves, Sullivan, Toomey
Voting for Simmons: Davis, Maher, Murphy, Simmons
At this point, Brian Murphy and Denise Simmons changed their votes to Decker, and David Maher then moved to make the vote unanimous.
After the inauguration, the usual political chatter ensued about deals having been made and broken - nothing that we haven't heard before. It does, however, seem to be the case that the votes for mayor were only finally decided in the hours before the election.

Addendum - Later in the day on January 5, the Cambridge School Committee unanimously elected Richard Harding to be its Vice-Chair.



Mayor Michael A. Sullivan

The Inauguration of the 2002-2003 Cambridge City Council took place on Monday, January 7, 2002 from 10am to noon at Cambridge City Hall. Michael A. Sullivan was elected mayor on the first ballot. Those initially voting for Sullivan were Councillors Henrietta Davis, David Maher, Brian Murphy, Denise Simmons, and Michael Sullivan. Councillors Marjorie Decker and Ken Reeves initially cast their votes for Marjorie Decker, and Councillors Anthony Galluccio and Tim Toomey initially cast their votes for Anthony Galluccio. Then, in order, Councillors Galluccio, Decker, Reeves, and Toomey all changed their votes to Michael Sullivan to elect him unanimously.

Councillor Henrietta Davis was then elected Vice-Chair of the City Council (called the vice mayor by some) after receiving votes from Councillors Davis, Galluccio, Maher, Murphy, Simmons, and Sullivan. Councillors Decker, Reeves, and Toomey cast their votes for Marjorie Decker. The final vote for Davis was 6-3.


Mayor Edward Sullivan, Mayor Michael Sullivan, and Mayor Walter Sullivan
(and maybe the next Mayor Sullivan!)

Return to Cambridge Civic Journal