The City of Kalamazoo was incorporated as a commission-manager form of government in 1918, which grants the Commission as the legislative and governing body of the City.
The City Commission consists of the Mayor and six commissioners who are elected at-large on a non-partisan basis to serve staggered four-year terms in office.
The City Manager is appointed by the City Commission and functions as the Chief Administrative Officer for the City. S/he is responsible for all administrative appointments with the exception of the City Assessor, City Attorney, City Clerk and Internal Auditor.
Beginning with the November 2015 election, candidates for the office of mayor will run solely for that position and be elected to serve a two-year term. The City Commission candidate that receives the most votes in each election will serve the first two years of their term as Vice Mayor and the remaining two as City Commissioner. Elections will continue to be held in odd years with three commissioners and the mayor elected at each.
2015 will be a unique election as the City implements changes voters approved to the City Charter in 2014. In the 2015 election, all six commissioners will be elected, with the three candidates receiving the most votes serving four-year terms and the remaining three serving two-year terms. Thereafter, commissioners will be elected to staggered four-year terms.