Task Force on Elected Representation

In response to resident-led inquiries and initiatives, the City Commission has asked a community Task Force on Elected Representation (TFER) to examine potential changes in voting processes and elected representation.

The goal is to thoughtfully consider and better understand the benefits, risks and potential tradeoffs or unintended consequences of various proposed changes, which include:

  • Moving City elections from odd years to even years
  • Changing the composition of the Council from its current form (two Commissioners representing each of three Wards) to an expanded Commission with single-member districts
  • Requiring general elections, regardless of whether a candidate receives a majority of votes during primary elections
  • Requiring a special election to fill vacancies on the City Commission

TFER will receive and review information, research and provide testimony on the impacts of these proposed recommendations.

TFER is tasked with providing a report with any recommendations to the City Commission no later than December 17, 2019.

The Task Force on Elected Representation presented their recommendations in the below report. 

Final Report Memorandum

Final Report

Task Force on Elected Representation documents


There are 11 Task Force members. Members were selected accordingly:

  • 6 Commissioner appointments (1 appointment per City Commissioner)
  • 2 Mayoral appointments
  • 3 Staff invitations to participate. 1 invitation from each of the following: academic study that includes public administration, political science and/or public policy; the Grand Rapids Democracy Initiative (GRDI); and Empower the Citizens

Task Force structure

City staff from the City Manager's Office, the City Clerk, the Law Department and Fiscal Services serve in an advisory and ex-officio role

  • The Task Force will elect a chair and vice-chair at the first meeting
  • The Task Force will conduct at least 1 meeting in each Ward, open for public input
  • At his discretion, the City Manager will seek third-party facilitation for the Task Force's proceedings

The Task Force will provide a report and any associated recommendations to the City Commission for consideration no later than December 17, 2019.


Dr. Richard Jelier

Grand Valley State University

Task Force Members

Rick Baker

Jennifer Dirmeyer

Christine Helms-Maletic

Elijah Libbet

Joe Marogil

Paul Mayhue

Rocio Rodriguez

Dave Shaffer

Beca Velazquez-Publes

Danielle Williams

City Members

Doug Matthews, Assistant City Manager, Chief Administration Officer

Joel Hondorp, City Clerk