City commission must become decisive

December 19, 2017

Frankly, it is hard to believe. The Birmingham Ad Hoc Brand Development Committee (BBDC) was created in July 2016, to work with a design firm to create a new city logo as part of an effort to rebrand the city. Twenty one months after beginning work with local ad agency McCann Detroit, part of McCann Worldgroup, which offered to do it pro bono, the effort seems stalled in a haze of indecision.

 

Birmingham city commissioners have squabbled over the designs created by the internationally-renown agency, even though three of the seven commissioners had sat on the ad hoc committee. One of those commissioners even asked at a commission meeting what the purpose was of branding and a logo. 

 

Now the city is asking residents and business people to respond to a citywide survey in January 2018 to move the city logo initiative forward by having a survey done to include the five previous logos, as well as two new ones, and the current one, just for good measure.

 

Eight logos for people to choose from. All because city commissioners couldn’t – or wouldn’t – do their job.

 

Sadly, this tiny incident is in microcosm a snapshot of the current Birmingham city commission, and their lack of decision-making on issues large and small. We watch and study all of the commission meetings, and have been astonished at the time it takes this commission to get through not only their consent agendas, which often takes an hour, as well as agenda items – noting that some commissioners come unprepared, either not having thoroughly read all of their packets, or else not completely understanding them, or else feeling it is their individual role to micromanage every single line . Neither is leadership. 

 

Leadership is having the knowledge and understanding to inspire movement forward, both collectively and individually. 

 

The lack of decision-making on a logo is indicative of a group of people who won’t – or can’t – make a decision. And the city commission just plain looks foolish asking the public to make the decision for them.

 

The public has already made the decision. They have elected seven commissioners as their representatives to make these, and so many other, decisions, for them. Prior to Monday nights at 7:30 p.m., on commission meeting nights, if commissioners are uncertain about what is on the agenda and in their packets, it is incumbent upon each of them to do the research necessary, to speak to staff on the applicable items. 

 

The indecision on the city logo is symptomatic of a weak city commission.  

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