Seven residents have submitted applications for the City Commission seat to be vacated by State Representative elect Michael McCready. They are Michael Hamblin, Ruth Holmes,Mary Juras, Mark Kapel, David Kellet, Ron Marks, and Stuart Sherr.
City Commission then has thirty days or until January 14th to appoint a successor. In an unusual move for the sometimes reticent commission, resumes and applications were sought from city residents who were registered voters. The Commission did not have to do this. The Charter leaves matters like this up to commission. At the annual appointment meeting after the commission election , the newly elected Mayor having sifted through the stack of applicants past and present and would submit sub candidates for vacancies in on the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Board of Review which reviews property assessments. Then the commission simply voted on who the Mayor recommends. There were occasional nay votes but in recent years no not out and out rejections of a Mayor suggested candidate .
An appointment to a partial term vacancy on the City Commissions is different because of the importance of City Commission which is the highest and only elected position the City. The Mayor for all intents and purposes is just another commissioner. Still one can imagine in years gone by the usual suspects might have pulled from the usual stack to reveal Bob, Joe, Beth, Tom, and Judy before the remaining commissioners decided it would probably be be either Bob or Judy. After a discussion with everyone sort of deciding on Bob that would be announced at the meeting.
This year is different. Everyone who wished be considered was.
Tomorrow night residents who attend the commission meeting may see the process begin and perhaps according to some observers, come to a successive conclusion. That is because until the vacancy is filled four commissioners will have to do the work of five. If the commissioners can come to an agreement as to who is the best candidate sooner is better than later.
Initially the applying for the job got off to a slow start. First announced at the November 13th City Commission meeting only one application had been received a week later on. By Dec 1st that number had increased to four and finally seven by the deadline.
How does that compare to other communities ? In 2011 Bloomfield Hills School Board received 13 inquiries, ten of which submitted applications that included essay questions. The group of ten then was reduced to 5 semi finalist by the school board.
Those five were the interviewed at a meeting open the public. From the group of five three finalists were chosen to attend a regularly schedule school board meeting where the other board members announced their vote and the reason for it. It gave the public a chance to see the the board's "visible thinking".
There are estimated 30,000 registered voters in the Bloomfield Hills School system. There are 3500 registered voters in the City of Bloomfield Hills. Our seven applicants compared to their ten is rather impressive.
What we lack is protocol and what is hopefully being developed is a procedure to follow. To that end City Attorney William Hampton wrote the following letter to the remaining commissioners with his suggestions. It is published in this week's City Commission Agenda Package and appears below. With four commissioners per Roberts Rules of Order three votes will be required to elect. Of note in Mr. Hampton's letter refers to four candidates since it was written before the deadline. The actual number who applied before that deadline is seven.
The exact number of votes required to be met or exceeded in order to elect or nominate is common to political conventions, and the Vatican's College of Cardinals. Often this type of elections which usually require multiple ballots and a certain amount of compromise can produce interesting and sometimes historical results.