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Rules of Procedure & Principles of Conduct

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City Commission Rules of Procedure  
City Commission Principles of Conduct  


Open Meetings

Regular meetings and special meetings of the Birmingham City Commission, which are normally held in the Commission Room of the Municipal Building, 151 Martin Street, shall be open to the public, in compliance with the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

It is the desire of the city commission to conclude all business not later than 11:00 PM. The commission will consider this goal during their deliberations.

Closed Sessions

All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public. A closed session, a meeting or part of a meeting that is closed to the public, may be called for the permissible purposes included in the Open Meetings Act (Act 267 of 1976 as amended). Examples of such purposes include personnel evaluation, collective bargaining, purchase or lease of real property, and pending litigation.


The Commission Meeting Agenda, including minutes, warrants, correspondence and reports shall be distributed to the City Commission on or before the Friday prior to the meeting date. Agendas shall also be made available for public review in the City Clerk's Office and on the City website. Minutes shall not normally be read as part of the meeting.


The minutes shall include the mandatory information as required by the Open Meetings Act 267 of 1976; Section 15.269. The minutes shall reflect an overview or brief summary of the subject matter and any Commission comments that may have had an effect on the outcome. Commission comments may include a summary in support or opposed and discussion which may be relevant for future reference.

The minutes shall include a participating citizen’s name and position on an issue when there is public comment during the commission meeting in all of the following instances: (1) a public hearing, (2) an agenda item or (3) recognition of citizens in the audience.
Presiding Officer

On the second Monday of November annually, the City Commission shall meet at a special workshop prior to the regular City Commission meeting, in order to discuss the selection of one of its members to serve as Mayor, who shall be the presiding officer of the Commission. At the workshop, the City Commission will discuss the qualifications, characters, willingness and abilities of particular commissioners to serve as Mayor. At the regular meeting, the City Commission shall enter into a motion and vote as to the election of the Mayor. The Mayor shall preside at all meetings of the City Commission, and be the Chief Executive head of the City and shall have other powers and perform other duties as are or may be imposed or authorized by the laws of the State, by the City Charter, or by the Commission. He or she shall be the conservator of the peace and may exercise within the City the powers conferred to suppress disorder.

At the same workshop the City Commission shall discuss the qualifications, characters, willingness, and abilities to elect another member of the Commission as Mayor Pro-Tem. At the regular meeting, the City Commission shall enter into a motion and vote as to the election of the Mayor Pro-Tem, who in the absence or disability of the Mayor shall act in his or her stead and shall during the time of such absence or disability exercise all of the duties and possess all of the powers of the Mayor.

In the absence or disability of the Mayor Pro-Tem, the City Commission may temporarily appoint one of its members to that office.

The Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem, as a member of the City Commission, shall have the right to vote on all matters before the Commission; however, he or she shall not have the right to veto.

Conduct of Business

Commission Meetings shall be governed by the rules contained in the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised in all instances in which they are applicable and not inconsistent with the statutes of the United States or the State of Michigan, or with the Charter or adopted of the City of Birmingham or these Rules of Procedure.

Commissioners should be recognized by the presiding officer before speaking.

Commissioners' Attendance at Boards and Committees

It is the decision of the Commission that to avoid the appearance of or a possibility of potential influence or duress upon appointees, or to avoid the possibility of violating the OMA, commissioners shall refrain from appearing at various boards and committees in person or with their names addressed upon remote attendance. Exceptions may occur upon presentation and vote of the entire Commission.


Birmingham's City Charter states that four members of the City Commission shall constitute a quorum; that the Commission shall act only by ordinance or resolution, that is, an official action in the form of a motion; and that a minimum of four votes shall be required to adopt any such motion.

For all Boards, Commissions or Committees appointed by the City Commission the minimum number of votes shall be the same as the quorum number for that body. State statute, City of Birmingham Charter or ordinance may require a larger number of affirmative votes to approve certain actions for either the City Commission or appointed Boards.

The City Commission may take action on any motion either by voice or by roll-call vote. A roll-call vote shall be taken if requested by any Commissioner, the City Clerk, or any member of the public in attendance.

A motion may be amended or modified by combining the original motion and the modifications in one motion, provided all City Commission Members agree to include the "friendly amendment" in the original motion.

A Commission member may abstain from voting on a motion if he or she: 1) has a conflict of interest; or 2) lacks sufficient information about the issue to be decided. Any Commissioner who abstains from voting on a motion shall state, for the record, at the outset of the discussion both his or her intention to abstain and reason for doing so. Should the need to abstain become clear during discussion, the member shall state his or her intention at that time. The Commissioner shall then be prohibited from participating in any further discussion or debate on the issue.

After a motion has been voted upon, any Commissioner who voted on the prevailing side may move to "reconsider" said motion at the same meeting, or at the next regularly scheduled meeting, provided no action has been taken as a result of the previous vote.

General consent or consensus (in lieu of a motion) may be used to give direction. In this case, the minutes shall indicate that a majority consented. 

Citizen Participation

During any City Commission meeting, any person may question or comment upon any specific agenda item at the time the City Commission considers that item.

The public shall also be invited to make comments on any item not on the meeting agenda under the agenda item, "Meeting Open To The Public For Items Not On The Printed Agenda."

No person shall address the City Commission without first having been recognized by the presiding officer. Once recognized, the member of the public shall go to one of the available microphones, and state his or her name and community of residence before speaking.

Speakers may be requested to limit their comments so as to provide opportunities for comments from all interested persons. In particular, no member of the public shall normally be permitted to speak a second time on the same issue until all others wishing to make a presentation on the subject have had an opportunity to do so.

If any person becomes loud or unruly, the presiding officer may rule that person out of order and may forfeit that person's opportunity to speak further. A person may also be expelled from the meeting for breach of the peace.

Commission Vacancies

If a vacancy occurs on the City Commission, it shall be filled by a vote of the remaining Commissioners (not including the member who is vacating his or her seat). The vote to fill a vacancy shall be taken during a public meeting held within the time prescribed by State Law. Candidates for a vacant seat need not have previously served on, nor sought election to, the Commission.

The person selected to fill a vacancy shall serve only until the next following general election, at which time any remaining unexpired term shall be filled by the voters.

Appointment Procedures

No member of the City Commission shall serve on any Board of the City of Birmingham, except the Retirement System, unless membership is required by Michigan Statute or the Birmingham City Charter.

When the City Commission desires to fill a vacancy on an appointed City of Birmingham Board, Commission or Committee, the City Clerk shall give notice to the public by publishing the intent to fill the vacancy on the City website.

If the number of persons nominated for appointment to a City Board, Commission or Committee does not exceed the number of positions to be filled, the City Commission may use a voice vote. If the number of nominations exceeds the number of positions to be filled, nominees shall be voted upon in the order in which they were nominated, either by voice or by roll-call vote.

If no nominee receives the required four votes for appointment, the process of nomination and voting may be repeated either at the same meeting or at a subsequent meeting. If the Commission desires, the position may be re-noticed.

Requests for members of the City Commission to serve on non-city bodies shall be given to the Mayor, who shall make such information available to all Commissioners. Members shall indicate their interest in such positions to the Mayor and the appointment shall officially be made at a public meeting.

Amendment or Suspension of the Rules of Procedure

These rules may be changed at any meeting of the City Commission by a majority vote with notice at the previous meeting or by a 2/3 vote (5) without notice.

Drafted by Eleanor A. Siewert, Birmingham City Commissioner - June, 1991

Revised June 28, 2004, April 8, 2013, August 26, 2013, December 13, 2021, May 18, 2023

City Commission Principles of Conduct  
City Commission conduct 8.5x11 in - Copy