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. The mayor is elected to serve a two-year term at each election, and commissioners serve staggered four-year terms.
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.
Prior to five voter-approved amendments to the City Charter in 2014, all commission candidates were elected every two years. The candidate receiving the most votes served as mayor, and candidate with the second most votes served as vice mayor. In 2015, the office of mayor will be elected separately, but all six commissioners will be elected. The top three commission candidates will serve four-year terms, and the remaining three will serve two-year terms. Thereafter, three commissioners will be chosen in each election to serve staggered four-year terms.