• By Lisa Brody

Candidate filings for local city commissions

Eight candidates filed for four open city commission seats in Birmingham, and five candidates filed to fill five open city commission seats in Bloomfield Hills, both by the filing deadline on Tuesday, July 23, to run for election in November.

The Birmingham City Commission serves as the city’s legislative body, consisting of seven commissioners, one of whom serves as mayor. The commissioners represent the citizens, and formulate policy as the legislative and policy-making body of the municipal government. They are elected at-large for four-year terms at non-partisan elections held in November of each odd-numbered year and are paid $5 per meeting. The city commission operates as a home rule charter city, with a council-manager form of government.

Bloomfield Hills has a similar legislative body and system, with five commissioners on its city commission who are elected every two years for two-year terms. A few years ago, a staggered system of electing commissioners was replaced with electing the entire board every two years.

In Birmingham, three of the four incumbents whose terms were expiring, Patty Bordman, Pierre Boutros and Carroll DeWeese, filed petitions to run for re-election for a second four-year term on the commission. Commissioner Andy Harris, first elected in 2015, along with Bordman, Boutros and DeWeese, sent a letter to city manager Joe Valentine on July 1, stating that with his obligations to “my family, law firm, the kids I coach, and to some extent, myself, I do not have the time nor the energy to satisfy the level of commitment this exemplary city deserves.”

Also filing to run for a seat on the commission were Clinton Baller, Jake German, Brad Host, Therese Longe and Matt Wilde.

Longe is chairperson of the city's parks and recreation committee; German is a member of the historic district study committee.

Baller and Host are both civic activists who are opposed to the city's proposed N. Old Woodward parking bond proposal. Baller, along with activist David Bloom, filed suit in federal court against the city of Birmingham on Monday, July 22, alleging their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated when they were prevented from speaking about the parking ballot issue at a recent meeting.

In Bloomfield Hills, three of the five current commissioners submitted petitions to run for another two-year term, William Hosler, Susan McCarthy and Sarah McClure. Mike Coakley and Stuart Sherr, both current commissioners, declined to run for re-election. Sherr was arrested on November 1, 2018, by Bloomfield Hills public safety officers for stealing the campaign signs of a Bloomfield Hills School board candidate, Anjali Prasad, after being caught on surveillance cameras. He pled not guilty, and will go on trial September 23 in Oakland County's 44th District Court in Royal Oak.

Bradley Baxter and Alice Buckley submitted petitions to run for a seat on the Bloomfield Hills City Commission. They are both currently on the city's board of zoning appeals.

All five candidates will run unopposed in November. Candidates in both communities have until 4 p.m. today (Friday) to withdraw their petition to appear on the ballot.

Elections in both communities will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

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