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BSD Executive Director position open once again

By David Hohendorf

Cristina Sheppard-Decius

Birmingham Assistant City Manager Melissa Fairbairn has been named the interim director of the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) following the exit on February 1 of Cristina Sheppard-Decius, who has held the position since September 2022.

The announcement of change in BSD leadership was included in the Manager's Report that was part of the February 12 city commission agenda packet released on Friday, February 9.

No reason was given for the management change and the city manager's report only referred to a “separation of employment” for Sheppard-Decius. Although one local official noted that there had been “conflict” between the departed executive director and members of the city administration, no one was able to say whether the change was actually a firing or a resignation.

Sheppard-Decius brought considerable experience to the BSD position, having most recently been the manager of the Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (DDA) from August of 2015 until taking the position with Birmingham. She had also worked with a number of communities in similar management positions, including over 15 years as the director of the Ferndale DDA.

Sheppard-Decius was hired by Birmingham following the resignation of BSD Director Sean Kammer, who held the position for about one year. Kammer now holds a similar position with the city of Pontiac. Prior to Kammer, Ingrid Tighe was BSD Director from April of 2017 to December 2020, when she took a position with Oakland County.

The Birmingham BSD is funded through a special assessment on all commercial, non-residential property in areas of downtown and other business districts of Birmingham. The executive director works with merchants, business owners, retailers, landlords, and commercial real estate brokers.


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