Battle Creek Voters Won’t Directly Pick the City’s Mayor
Battle Creek voters will not make the direct decision who serves as the city's mayor. City Commissioners are deciding against a ballot proposal to amend the city charter and allow voters to directly elect the mayor. So the choice will continue to be made by City Commissioners from among themselves. The resolution needed six votes to pass. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports the idea was defeated in a 5-4 vote. Many commissioners thought a better solution was needed to improve electoral representation in Battle Creek. Commissioners were scheduled to vote on the resolution last month, but postponed the vote until all commissioners were present because it was expected to be a close decision. At a September meeting, city residents and commissioners raised concerns about how direct election of the mayor would affect the representation of diverse opinions in Battle Creek.
A Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee originally made the recommendation to allow for direct election of the mayor. It also proposed increasing the number of wards from five to seven and decreasing the number of at-large positions on the Commission from four to two.
The City Commission took up the recommendation for direct election of the mayor, but not the proposed changes to the ward system.
Mayor Mark Behnke supported the resolution and told the Enquirer he is surprised by the outcome of the vote.