Kalamazoo City
English Spanish

Running for Office

City Commission

In November 2014 voters approved five amendments to the Kalamazoo City Charter that change the way citizens fill positions on the City Commission.  Below is an explanation of the changes.

The Changes

Beginning with the November 3, 2015 Municipal Election, citizens will elect a Mayor and six City Commissioners. 

  • Regular municipal elections will continue to be held in November of each odd-numbered year.
  • The Mayor will be elected on a separate ticket for a two-year term.
  • City Commissioners will be elected to four-year terms.  These terms will be staggered, with three Commissioners elected every two years.
  • The City Commissioner candidate who receives the most votes at each regular municipal election will be the Vice Mayor.  This means the Vice Mayorship will change every two years.  The Vice Mayor will serve the first two years of his/her term as the Vice Mayor and the last two years as a City Commissioner.

2015 A Transition Year

The 2015 Municipal Election will be unique as the City Commission transitions to staggered, four-year terms.

  •  In 2015 voters will elect six City Commissioners.
  • The Commissioner candidates who finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd will be elected to four-year terms (expiring in 2019).
  • The candidates who finish 4th, 5th, and 6th will be elected to two-year terms (expiring in 2017).
  •  Beginning in 2017, and at each municipal election thereafter, voters will elect three Commissioners to four-year terms.  

Qualifications - per City Charter

§6. (a) A person seeking the office of City Commissioner shall be a resident of and qualified elector in the City at the time of filing for election or appointment to that office. The City Commission shall be judge of the election and qualification of its own members, subject to review by the Courts. No member of the city Commission shall, during his or her term of office, hold any other city office unless otherwise provided in this Charter.

(b) No member of the City Commission, or other officer, shall be interested directly or indirectly in the profits of any contract, job or work, or be financially interested directly or indirectly in the sale to the city of any land, materials, supplies or services (other than official services). Any member of the City Commission, or other officer of the city, offending against the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars, or be imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both, in the discretion of the court and shall forfeit office. The prohibitions of this section shall not apply if the City Commission shall declare on its records by a unanimous vote of the members thereof, other than the member so interested, that the best interests of the city are served in spite of a personal interest, direct or indirect.

Nominations - per City Charter

§32. (a) Candidates for all elective offices in the City shall be nominated from the city at large by petitions only. The name of any elector of the city shall be printed on the ballot whenever a petition, as hereinafter prescribed, shall have been filed in his or her behalf with the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall provide uniform nominating petition blanks.

(b) Each petition shall contain the name of the candidate along with the address of his or her residence and shall specify the office for which the candidate is nominated. Each elector signing such petition shall add to his or her signature the address of his or her residence and the date on which he or she signed. Each elector may sign the nominating petition of no more than seven candidates for City Commission. The signatures to the nominating petition need not all be appended to one paper, but to each separate paper there shall be attached an affidavit of the circulator thereof stating that each signature appended thereto was made in the circulator's presence and is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.

(c) Each nominating petition to be valid shall contain the names of not less than fifty nor more than seventy-five qualified electors.

On March 31, 2010, PA 44 of 2010 was signed into law. This change requires the City Commission candidate filing calendar to follow the same time line as other offices throughout the State.


  • Submit properly completed petitions containing at least 50 valid signatures but no more than 75; and
  • Submit a completed Affidavit of Identity to the Clerk's office.

Important Dates

For the November 7, 2017 Municipal Election: 

  • No petition shall be circulated before Friday, May 26, 2017 
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by 4:00 p.m. -Nomination petitions and Affidavit of Identty due to the City Clerk's Office
    • July 28, 2017 by 4:00 p.m. -Last day for a candidate to withdraw

Library Board  |  School Board  |  Other Offices