Fiction often focuses on a local setting; the action may rarely, if ever, move beyond the borders of the town where the main characters live. In these cases, the highest authority appearing in the work — often the local mayor — is treated as if he has absolute authority over his domain. They never have to worry overstepping their authority, or having their decisions overruled by the county, state, or — God forbid — federal government. If such lofty figures show up at all, it will probably be in the form of an Obstructive Bureaucrat
who buzzes around for a while before being subdued, allowing things to return to normal
This allows the characters to interact directly with the person in charge, without having to deal with annoyances like referendums or town councils. Whether they have a brilliant scheme that needs a powerful backer or they're trying to deal with the mayor's latest crackpot scheme to revitalize the town, they'll be able to (and, in fact, be forced
to) go straight to the mayor himself instead of dealing with bureaucracy or procedure. Expect such a mayor to be around forever, heedless of minor details like elections or competence.
Other settings may use other authority figures; the principal in a school setting, or the base commander in a military setting, for example. Often overlaps with Permanent Elected Official
- The mayor in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs even lampshades this. At one point he mentions spending the entire town budget on a project "without consulting anyone", and later funds another project by taking out a "very high interest loan".
- The mayor of Halloweentown in The Nightmare Before Christmas is of this type, though there aren't actually any higher authorities to overrule him (and Jack basically does everything that needs to be done anyway).
- The Mayor of New York in Ghostbusters.
- Boss Nigger: Boss makes it illegal for any "whitey" to use the "N-word".
- Inverted in Horton Hears a Who! where, in Whoville, the town counsil bosses the mayor around and he has no say in any decisions.
- Mayor Cole (Bill Murray) of the City of Ember in Cityof Ember.
- Mayor Prentiss in the Chaos Walking trilogy.
- The Mayors of Terminus in the Foundation were never meant to be like this, but by the time of the Indburs it's become a hereditary job, with all the negatives that this implies (to the point that, if the Mule had not appeared, there would have been a rebellion). All the way from Hardin's coup to Foundation's Edge, the Mayors were a partial example: they were for the most part responsible to a council (first a town council, then a planetary council, and eventually an interstellar council), but after the Empire withdrew from the Rim and the Encyclopedia Foundation was removed from actual power the Mayors became the highest authority in the Foundation — even after the Foundation had grown into a Federation covering roughly half the Galaxy.
- Sinclair, Sheridan, and Lochley in Babylon 5. In this case, because they are the commanding officers of the space station, which is an Earth military base despite also functioning as a commerce hub and meeting place for the various major powers amd because during the Shadow War they declare independence from Earth.
- Sherrif Lucas Buck from American Gothic. Pretty much the raison d'etre of the show.
- Regina in Once Upon a Time. Justified in that the spell she cast did actually freeze Storybrooke and cut it off from the world.
- The show In The Flesh depicts local MPs and Parish Councils as having far more power and day-to-day involvement in their districts than they actually do in reality. Although, following a Zombie Apocalypse, it is likely that some decentralization of power occurred during the collapse of society.
- The Mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper from Anyone Can Whistle appears to be this, until she gets a telegram from the governor.
- The mayor in the various Harvest Moon games is always this, generally of the more benevolent type.
- To the extreme in Harvest Moon DS. He is the mayor of Mineral Town but visits Forget-Me-Not Valley regularly to act as mayor there too at the same time.
- The player is one in the SimCity series.
- Given a nod in The Sims 2. The most powerful political career position isn't president, but Mayor. He even outranks senator!
- Mayor Mike Haggar from Final Fight. Stepping out of his authority here means you get a giant fist or your bones shattered with his wrestling skills or being smacked with an iron pipe he grabs nearby. Which happens a lot to Mad Gear gang.
- Fallout 3 has Lucas Simms, the Cowboy Cop who is both mayor and sheriff of the town of Megaton. The "ultimate authority" part is pretty much justified by the game's After the End setting. Mayor MacCready tries to be this, but he's really just a bully in what he admits is general anarchy.
- In theory the higher authority would be John Henry Eden, President of the United States and leader of the Enclave. Aside from the dubious legitimacy of his election (among other dubious things), the Enclave is BAD business for anyone except the Enclave, and no one with any sense would try to take their issues to their doorstep.
- Fallout: New Vegas has Mister House, who keeps an iron grip on his control of New Vegas. He tends to be pretty laid back about things as long as his authority isn't directly challenged, though.
- As of Batman: Arkham City, Quincy Sharp, now Mayor of Gotham City, was somehow allowed to buy up a chunk of the city, throw in every criminal and mental patient in Gotham, including the supervillains and have the area fenced off, surrounded by armed guards. Note that he also throws in political prisoners; including people who built the prison, and Bruce Wayne for protesting it, all without the benefit of a trial.
- In Kingdom Hearts, nearly every world has its own king or mayor who acts as this.
- In Freefall, the (so far nameless) mayor is the only government authority figure that has been seen and hasn't been shown to have to answer to a city council or higher authority for her actions, although there was once mention of a governor of the planet Jean on which the comic is set.
- The Mayor of Ink City presents himself as one of these, though he prefers interacting with the residents on his terms — rather than letting them bring their questions and grievances directly to him, he tends to show himself primarily to rebuke and remind them of their place. It helps that he can control the ink monsters.
- Ultimately though, he works for a much more powerful force: the mods. He also ensures the muns are somewhat satisfied.
- Sonichu has the Author Avatar. The mayor rules a total Egopolis where everything from the radio station to the currency to the most popular soda to the city itself is named after him, and the laws (based purely on his own values and Squicks) are enforced via psychic monitoring. His authority is primarily exercised by slaughtering the avatars of those who've pissed off the author in real life in the most horrific ways. As he is above the law, no one ever blinks an eye. Oh, and we the audience are intended to root for him.
- The Mayor in The Powerpuff Girls, who only manages to keep things running thanks to the Powerpuff Girls and his hypercompetent assistant.
- Mayor Quimby of The Simpsons is a classic sleazeball politician type.
- Mayor Adam West in Family Guy. Since this is Family Guy (and Adam West), he's insane, but no one seems to care, except Brian Griffin, and even then, not all the time. His power as mayor is also rather extreme in that he even has the power to rewrite laws (on a whim, no less), such as banning and/or legalizing gay marriage and marijuana.
- Mayor White from Doug. Unusually for this trope, he's eventually voted out and replaced by Doug's neighbor, Mrs. Dink.
- The Mayor in WordGirl appears to be one of these. In one episode, the villain "Mr. Big" does manage to get him out of office using less-than-legal-means, but the original Mayor was restored by the end of the episode.
- Two Legs Joe from Spliced.
- Mayor Jones is the be-all end-all authority in the town of Crystal Cove in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated; he even personally orders the sheriff around, rather than the sheriff listening to, y'know, the people who elected him. Played with in that not everyone listens to him and an early episode sees him seeking re-election and using the diamond the protagonists found as a result of their mystery solving as a publicity stunt for that cause.
- Burgermeister Meisterburger lives and breathes this trope. Not only does he have the power to ban toys "throughout the land, from sea to sea", but he can and does initiate a worldwide manhunt for Santa Claus... to no avail in the end, but still.
- Of course, immediately after he dies, people start to smarten up and realize the absurdity of the whole thing.