Cincinnati's Mark Mallory is First Mayor of 'Undercover Boss' [Video]

Undercover Boss The biggest challenge Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, faced on 'Undercover Boss' was concealing his identity. After all, "most politicians build their careers on being recognized," he laughed. He's been seen on television, billboards, in magazine and newspapers countless times. But with dreadlocks, glasses, fake facial hair and a fat suit, he was able to pull off being the first elected official and the first African American boss on the series.

The latter was news to him, when AOL asked him about it. "I am?" he wondered. "That didn't occur to me." But he says that as the first directly elected black mayor of Cincinnati, he's accustomed to firsts.

He's also accustomed to politics of every kind imaginable. Between his father, his four brothers and himself, they've been in more than 30 elections. His father, William Mallory Sr., is the former majority leader in the Ohio House of Representatives and served in the state legislature for 28 years. "You can't be a Mallory and not be in politics," says the mayor.

Of course, it took a whole different kind of political skill to go undercover for a better understanding of how Cincinnati, which has a population of about 2.1 million, works. Some of that skill involved juggling shooting the show for eight days, with fulfilling his civic duties when the need arose. One day, for example, after working a long, hard shift with a city mechanic, Mallory donned a suit and went as mayor to a ribbon cutting for the Queen City Tower, now the tallest building in Cincinnati. For eight days straight, Mallory found himself working from about 4:0AM to 11PM.

It was exhausting and at times he was grumpy -- especially when he didn't get to take his habitual and well-known 11:30AM lunch break. But he said it was worth every second to find out how passionate and dedicated city employees are to their work.

job interview

Roadkill capers

His first job involved removing roadkill with Danny, who had been cleaning up dead animals for the sanitation division of the Public Services Department for eight years. It wasn't easy for Mallory to handle a dog and a "flat cat," as well as squirrels and possums. Mallory developed renewed respect for the employees who do this type of distasteful work every day, and was amazed that Danny didn't have a GPS to guide him or a winch to pick up the larger animals.

Of course, when Mallory revealed his identity, he made sure Danny would get that GPS unit and winch. Danny had told Mallory earlier that he had eight kids, and couldn't afford to take his wife on a vacation to New York, where she'd been yearning to visit. Now, the Mayor can't hand out city funds as bonuses, so he remedied this by having wealthy friends and corporate donors take care of the employees. Danny and his wife got an all-expenses-paid trip to New York and $3,000 to spend there.

Mallory's second job was much kinder and gentler, and a little more exciting. He worked at an after-school day camp at a recreation center in Northside, where he helped lead the children playing volleyball and making pigs in a blanket for a cooking lesson. Mallory has no children of his own, but he has plenty of nieces and nephews, which helped him relate.

AOL Jobs Asks
Undercover Boss Mark Mallory
5 Quick Questions

1. What was your first job? Production assistant at the local PBS affiliate.

2. What inspires you? My parents.

3. What is the most important trait needed to succeed? Determination and self-drive.

4. What is your biggest challenge? Getting people to understand what a mayor is capable of doing. There are some things (like the weather) that I have no power over.

5. What is the best career advice you ever received? Mallory's father, who inspired his five sons to go into politics, told them to always be prepared to give a speech, and speak from the heart.

He was sympathetic to the concerns Karen, his supervisor, had about budget cuts, and he admired her efforts to sponsor a basketball team and work in a job-readiness program in the summer, for kids ages 12 and 13, in which they get to try a number of jobs. After the reveal, he arranged for the job readiness programs to be put in place at all the city recreation centers, and a donor provided Karen with a $10,000 gift card to be used anywhere in the city.

Keeping the fleet neat

Next up, Mallory worked with fleet services in central Cincinnati, where budget cuts had resulted in delaying the purchase of some new vehicles, and Mallory helped a city mechanic named Steve see that the existing vehicles would run a bit longer. Mallory assisted in an oil change on a police motorcycle and checked horns, lights, sirens, etc. Steve commented that Mallory has soft hands and clearly doesn't work with them much.

Steve was honest with Mallory and told him he doesn't like the cuts that have been made, some of which require keeping some fairly old vehicles running, and that he felt that fleet services wasn't fully appreciated. Of course Mallory had a solution for that in the end -- he arranged for special, citywide recognition of fleet services, and for someone to give Steve $10,000 to use as he pleased. The final credits revealed that Steve would be using the money to facilitate early retirement.

Lovely Mallory, meter maid

For his fourth and final job, Mallory got a taste of what it was like to be the proverbial "meter maid." Working with a Arnneater, a parking enforcement officer, Mallory was involved in writing tickets for parking violators, and jamming the ticket machine. Not much gets past Arnneater, apparently, and she told Mallory he looked an awful lot like the mayor.

When the two took a break, Arnneater revealed she had four children, the oldest of which lives in a home because he has cerebral palsy. At that point, Mallory didn't feel like deceiving her any longer, and revealed his true identity. Later, he found a donor to give a special needs van to her family so they could take her son out.

The result of Mallory's 'Undercover Boss' experience is that he is now "on a crusade." Since he filmed the show, he has gone out to work with various other divisions, and his work has included filling potholes, picking up trash, street sweeping, and riding along with police officers. And he plans to do more.

"This is giving me new, invaluable perspective, which really helps when budget time comes and we have to decide how we're going to fund different programs and what we're going to cut," Mallory says. All in all, he hopes the show brings an awareness to the fact that there are so many dedicated city employees who work hard every day, appreciate their jobs, and are happy to be there.

Next: Undercover Boss Denny Slagle Wants to Bring Mack Back

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Hello, just saw the Undercover Boss show, with Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, and I think that what he did was amazing. I would love for our Mayor of Miami, to follow his same steps.... If Mark Mallory, would run for president, I would pick you in a heartbeat!!!! Politicians need to know what time it is!!

June 16 2012 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He found the job he should of had from the start when he went to work in Cincinnati .

June 17 2011 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a scam to find young boys !

June 17 2011 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Politicians are elected to represent the people and make decisions for the "general" good of the electorate. Teaching is an honorable profession ... my father was a teacher. Unions were designed to protect workers from abusive employers. Many politicians (not all) are most interested in getting re-elected and spending other people's money in the name of good. Our current financial crisis is due, in part, to funny economics where programs are paid for today using money our children will need to cover later. Unions have generally outlived their usefulness with laws enacted to protect workers so they have to find new causes to "win" to justify their inflated salaries. Unions and politicians form a powerful team which is designed to feed itself on the efforts of the rest of the workforce. Teachers have other "non financial" benefits from their profession which most other workers do not enjoy. Some, not all, "union workers" have retired in place as there is no way to hold them accountable for not doing their jobs. Political activists use teachers, police officers, and firemen as pawns to justify inflated budgets and hide "entitlements" or "special needs" which the majority of the electorate don't need and cannot afford. One needs to go beyond the generalizations and class warfare if real solutions are to be found. The governors of WI, OH, TX, NJ, and other states should be applauded for fighting the corruption and excesses imposed on the many by the few. I applaud this mayor for playing prince and pauper but question his authenticity when he throws other people’s money to help individuals. As with playing and winning the lottery isn’t a real solution, this really isn’t a solution either.

March 08 2011 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think if we ever get another President ,,MARK MALLORY,,Would be the right man !!! I'd vote for him in a friggin HEARTBEAT ! Dude that addresses the problems ! This man has HEART !!!

March 08 2011 at 7:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

i wish MORE politicianns would do this

March 08 2011 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to anita's comment
Leticia Flowers

Anita i have been looking for you for 35 years and i see you on undercover boss.Please fb me asap love you.Leticia Flowers God is so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 09 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOVED the show. Best show of the season (ever)! Mayor you could be Snoop Dog's twin! lol This Mayor knows how to listen to his people.I can't complement this man enough.NJ's Governor.... needs to take a page out of Mayor Mallory"s book.Christy would have to go around as the Michelin Man or the Dough Boy.Don't think he'd get to far with the people in NJ.Again,Mayor,I applaud you and your staff !God Bless you

March 08 2011 at 12:59 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
peggy, where do u make $350 a week??

Gee I wish my take home pay was $350 a week. After taxes and insurance, all of the bull*&%$ mandatory expenses taken out, I bring home $336 every 2 weeks. 15 yrs of experience leads to employers getting away with barely paying you and if you complain you get the "be happy for what you got because we have a dozen people a day wanting your job" speech.

March 08 2011 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to peggy, where do u make $350 a week??'s comment

"mandatory expenses"
so what you are saying is that ALL of your needs are met weekly and you still have a surplus of $336 every 2 weeks. Sounds okay to me..... If you are getting the "dozen people a day wanting your job speech," then it is because you don't deserve more, if you were invaluable to your company, they would give you as much as you asked for but the truth is you perform an unskilled labor that any joe schmoe on the street could do and, really, paying you more than you are making would be a crime.

March 08 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder how much he got paid 4 doing the show?

March 08 2011 at 12:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sally the camel

I dare Mayor Bloomburg of NYC to do this. Dare you you pig of a rich bastard mayor.

March 07 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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