City Government Overview

Here are some of the more important features about your city government. This information is presented in order that you may familiarize yourself with the basic framework of local government in Royal Oak. See Organization Chart.

City Charter

The City of Royal Oak has operated under the "Council Manager" form of government since its incorporation in 1921. This form of government provides that the City Commission act as the legislative or policy making body and that it appoint a City Manager to serve as chief administrator of the functions of municipal government. View City Charter Online.

City Commission

The City Commission is composed of six Commissioners and a Mayor elected by the City-at-large on a nonpartisan ballot. Three Commissioners are elected to four-year terms every two years to ensure experienced legislators at all times. The Mayor is elected for a two-year term.

The Mayor is the presiding officer of the Commission. In the absence of the Mayor, the Mayor Pro-Tem shall be the presiding officer.

Each elected official has one vote that can be cast on each motion. Appointed officials do not have a vote. Four members of the commission constitute a quorum and may conduct city business. Ordinance and resolutions require four affirmative votes to be approved.

City Manager

The City Manager, appointed by the City Commission, is the City's chief administrative officer and, as such, is held accountable for planning, coordinating, directing and executing all of the City's operations in a manner prescribed by law and conforming to the general policies and specific directive of the Commission.

Commission Meetings

City Commission meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month (with some exception) at 7:30 p.m. in the Commission chambers of City Hall at 211 Williams. Meetings are open to the public and are broadcast on WROK channels 55/10.

The Mayor and members of the City Commission encourage the interest, attendance and participation of the public at Commission meetings. The public is invited to speak on issues during public hearings and general audience participation. Often questions and suggestions about particular problems can be handled more effectively if they are directed to the appropriate department during regular working hours. Feel free to call your City at any time.

Commission Meeting Procedures

Agendas for each meeting are available at the City Clerk's Office prior to the meetings, online, and in the Commission Room on the night of the meeting. Citizens can address the City Commission during public comment but must follow the Rules of Procedure as adopted by the City Commission on December 3, 2001.

City Commission meeting agendas and minutes are available online and at the Royal Oak Public Library.


City Commission Courses of Action:


A resolution is a form of opinion or will of the City Commission adopted by vote. There is no special waiting period required between the introduction and adoption of resolutions. A subsequent resolution or action of the City Commission can change resolutions.

Resolutions are used for such matters as the calling of special elections, the adoption of the budget, issuance of bonds, the ordering of construction for public improvements and the confirmation of special assessment rolls.


A motion is the formal mode in which a member submits a proposed measure or resolve for the consideration and action by the City Commission. Motions may be used to authorize certain administrative actions - such as the acceptance of purchasing bids or the appointment of individuals to serve on boards or committees. Motions are also used to dispose of items of business on the agenda and to receive and file petitions and reports. This proceeding is adopted from parliamentary law.


An ordinance is the result of a legislative act by the City Commission and constitutes a permanent rule of government. The procedure for enacting an ordinance is specified in the City Charter. Ordinances are commonly used for such actions as zoning, building, safety and other matters of municipality.


When the City Commission is either not prepared to take definitive action or believes further review is needed, a matter may be referred to a committee or administrative official for study and later report.

Complaint/Suggestion Procedure

Please call the appropriate City departments during regular business hours. If your situation requires further attention, please contact the department head or the City Manager's office.

Study Session

A study session is held by the Commission to gather information, ask questions and exchange points of view on various topics. They are often used for an in-depth look at an issue before it appears on the agenda for Commission action.

Closed Session

A Closed session is held prior to the beginning of a regularly scheduled commission meeting. The law limits the reasons to hold closed meetings to pending litigation, collective bargaining, consideration of purchase of real property and appointment to public office.

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