This article is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA), nor does it delineate policy. This article is published as a service to the members of the SCA who wish to explore the possibilities of becoming the Mayor of Pennsic War.
So you want to be the Mayor of Pennsic?
Musings by Viscount Edward Zifran of Gendy
Many people have approached me and said that they think it would be fun to be the Mayor of Pennsic. I will admit that it is indeed fun. But it is also a lot of hard work. Being the Mayor of Pennsic War is a two and a half-year commitment of your life. During that time, you will no doubt spend 1560 hours dealing with Pennsic Business (phone calls, planning, e-mail and staff assignments). That's the equivalent of sixty-five 24-hour days (in other words, that's 195 8-hour work days.). And that won't even count the two weeks that Pennsic is open where you will be active and on-call 24 hours a day.
It requires making hard decisions that may involve telling friends no. It requires the talents of a diplomat and the tenaciousness of a pit bull. And when all is said and done, you may not even receive a thank you for your efforts. Yet people still want to apply for this position.
A few common fallacies regarding the Pennsic Mayor Position are answered below.
- "Why should I bid for Mayor? It's already decided."
This is not true. There is no cabal that appoints the Mayor. There may be leading candidates based on past performances on staff of Pennsic War, that is true. But the decision arrived at by the Hosting Kingdom's Crown is never certain. Many items may influence a decision.
- "I have to live in the Hosting Kingdom to be Mayor."
This too is untrue. Pennsic has a multi-kingdom staff that includes people from all over the Known World. The goal is to try to find the best PERSON for the position regardless of their Kingdom affiliation to ensure the best management of the event.
- "I have to do all the work myself and appoint all new people to positions"
This is not a management style that is looked for in the current climate. Nor is the total replacement of Pennsic staff desirable. One of the goals is continuity from year to year. Many people have spent upwards of 15 years working on Pennsic War. To not try to use them in a position would be counterproductive to the goals of a smooth running event.
- "No-one will let me be part of Pennsic Staff."
Unless you have proven that you can not be a team player or have proven that you are unable to successfully fulfill a previous position at Pennsic War, chances are that you would be welcomed to the Pennsic Staff. All you have to do is volunteer. You may not start at the top, but few people do. New people are becoming part of the Pennsic Staff every year. New People are becoming Department and Division Heads every year. Pennsic Staff is not a secret society. And the need for new people grows every year. Pennsic 25 had approximately 30 staff members listed (exclusive of on-site volunteers doing Public Safety shifts, Troll shifts, Marshalling, Chirurgeons, etc.). Pennsic 33 had 154 listed staff members.
Just four of the most common questions that people ask when the think about bidding for the Mayor position.
Well, still interested?
You have taken the first step by reading this little treatise.
If you have ever had thoughts of being the Pennsic War Mayor, here are 35 questions to ask yourself:
- Have you even been to Pennsic?
- Have you ever autocrated an event?
- Have you ever held an office in the SCA?
- Have you worked at Pennsic War as a Divisional or Department head for at least four of the last five years?
- Have you read the requirements set forth by the Kingdom Seneschal Group as to the Bid Process to be Mayor for Pennsic War?
- Do you know Whom Baron The Dave is and more important does Baron The Dave recognize "YOU" on sight?
- Do you have knowledge of Other Kingdom's customs besides the one you reside in?
- Do you know the names of all the Kingdoms and where they are geographically?
- Do you have the people skills to direct and lead the 150 plus people who will be your staff?
- Do you have the network base to be able to have 150 qualified people willing to work for you?
- Do you believe that Department and Divisional heads should be appointed based on merit and previous dedication to the Pennsic War Event regardless of which Kingdom they reside in?
- Do you know that being Mayor of Pennsic is a 24 x 7 position for the18 day duration and you are always on call and must be willing to answer questions, your radio, your pager at all times day and night?
- DO you have more than 10 years of SCA experience?
- Can you devote 5 to 10 hours a week to Pennsic Business for the first year of your appointment?
- Can you devote 10 to 20 hours a week to Pennsic Business during the year prior to your Pennsic?
- Can you be at Pennsic one week prior to the opening of your war and at least two days after the close?
- Can you attend weekend meetings in November and May at Cooper's Lake.
- Can you give up your normal Pennsic Activities (fighting, classes, partying, etc), to ensure that 12000 people have a good time?
- Can you balance your own checkbook (Thusly giving yourself an idea of what trying to balance a $200,000.00 budget might be like)?
- Can your Spouse/Partner/Significant Other, understand that you will have little time to be with them during YOUR Pennsic?
- Are you a member of the SCA, as you would be appointed a Deputy Kingdom Seneschal?
- Are you flexible in thought and able to think on your feet?
- Are you known for being even-handed and fair and gracious under pressure, to all regardless of rank?
- Are you willing to be hated by at least 400 people, because of decisions you would have to make about Pennsic Rules?
- Are you able to follow directions and procedures set forth by the Kingdom Seneschal Group?
- Are you willing to get out of bed at 3AM, to discuss with a Duke their inability to follow the rules and how it does not set a good example and then assign said Duke to 10 hours of "community service" doing this with respect and courtesy?
- Are you able to keep any "problems" in-house, thusly not letting the attending populace see any discord amongst your Staff?
- Are you more concerned about Pennsic War running smoothly, than "WHO" wins the War?
- Are you willing to be the "Center-of-Attention" and spend most of your days and evenings at Pennsic, talking with people, listening to their problems, make "hard-decisions" and seldom having a moment to yourself?
- Are you known for being a leader and not a follower?
- Are you able to appoint a keeper and trust their judgment over your own as to when you need to sleep, eat, bath, and take a chill pill?
- Are you able to survive on 5 to 7 hours of sleep a night for 22 days, without becoming a raving lunatic?
- Are you comfortable with all Peers and not suffer from "PEER-FEAR"?
- Are you able to not micromanage your staff and back them on decisions they make concerning their Divisions and Departments?
- Are you already a Peer?
If you can not answer yes to all the above questions, then you may wish to reconsider whether you want or could be Mayor of Pennsic, at least at this time. The ability to answer the above questions only comes from having been on Pennsic War Staff for a number of years. It has been many years since a Mayor who had less than 6 years of intensive Pennsic responsibility (i.e. Being a department or division head for a number of years) was chosen.
The best way to find out if you really have what it takes to be Mayor is to become involved as a member of staff. This way you will see the inner workings and the synergy that is Pennsic. I would encourage you, if you haven't already, to volunteer your time beginning with the current Pennsic War. Please visit www.pennsicwar.org and follow the links to the volunteer services.
Unfortunately, even with hard work, not everyone will have the opportunity to be Mayor. In many ways it is like the military. Not everyone gets to be a General, but there is a heavy need for good Captains and Sergeants.
I wish you well on your journey. If I can assist you or if you have questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Viscount Edward Zifran of Gendy
Mayor - Pennsic War 33
Deputy Mayor - Commissioner of Public Safety - Pennsic War 34
Deputy Mayor - Planning and Zoning - Pennsic War 32
Land - far too many times
Cooper Liaison - far too many times
Webmaster - far too many times