Hoff, Nickita and Sherman opt not to run for reelection

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 28, 2021

 Commissioners Mark Nickita, Rackeline Hoff and Stuart Sherman announced they won’t seek reelection in November after decades of service.

Commissioners Mark Nickita, Rackeline Hoff and Stuart Sherman announced they won’t seek reelection in November after decades of service.

Photo provided by Rackeline Hoff

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BIRMINGHAM — The three longest-sitting members of the Birmingham City Commission announced recently they won’t seek reelection this fall.

Commissioners Rackeline Hoff, Stuart Sherman and Mark Nickita made separate announcements of their intentions to sit out the race for their seats when their terms expire this November.

Sherman was the first to make his decision public in a press release.

“The city of Birmingham is like a family to me, and I have received such great satisfaction in watching it grow and succeed,” wrote Sherman. “I hope that the foundation that my fellow dedicated and capable commissioners and I built in the years past will help sustain and support this wonderful city now and well into the future.”

Sherman was first elected in 2005 and served two stints as mayor. He cited accomplishments like reducing the city tax rate, helping to maintain Birmingham’s AAA bond rating, working to plan the redevelopment of Shain Park, bringing the bistro ordinance to the city’s downtown and more.

“As I prepare to leave office, I want to thank the city staff for their incredible work and unwavering dedication,” continued Sherman in his statement. “They made my job and that of every commissioner so much easier, and I am deeply grateful. Most of all, I want to thank the people of Birmingham — the residents and business owners who make this one of the greatest cities not just in Michigan but in the country. You give Birmingham its heart and soul, and it is a joy to be a part of.”

Nickita, first elected in 2009, mentioned similar achievements in his announcement, along with improving the city’s walkability, molding Birmingham’s three commercial areas — downtown, the Rail District and the Triangle District — and leading the city through the Great Recession and later the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe I have contributed to make the city of Birmingham an even greater place than it was when I moved here 33 years ago,” Nickita said in a prepared statement. “I am thankful for the collaboration and commitment from the residents and business community that has been a critical component of creating a prosperous and livable community, that I believe will be successful and sustainable for many years to come. ”

The two-time mayor closed with an intention to keep working toward the betterment of the city, out of the spotlight.

“I am not going anywhere. I plan to stay involved and participate and assist in maintaining Birmingham’s position as an exceptional city in which to live, work and recreate,” he said.

Hoff served three terms as mayor during her tenure on the commission, which began in 2001.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be able to contribute to the continued success of this vibrant city,” Hoff said in an email. “Many thanks to the citizens who supported me through the years and to the wonderful volunteers and staff members that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”

The announcements come at a time when the commission has been noticeably split on a number of issues, including the approval of an unusual second consecutive term as mayor for Pierre Boutros. Nickita, Hoff and Sherman were viewed as being on one side of the table, while the newer commissioners —  Boutros, Mayor Pro-tem Therese Longe, Clinton Baller and Brad Host — were on the other. The latter commissioners were elected to their first term in November of 2019, with the exception of Boutros, who was elected in 2015.

“I don’t know (their reason for resigning) but there has been a lot of contention between us,” said Host, who suggested his focus at the commission table was the neighborhoods, while he said the three veteran members were more focused on commercial areas and downtown.

Nickita and Sherman didn’t respond when asked whether discord informed their decision not to seek reelection. Hoff said it was several factors that led her to step down.

“Primarily, I felt that the timing was right. It was a most rewarding experience for me personally, but after 20 years, I thought it’s time for some new blood,” she said in an email.

Boutros echoed her sentiment for fresh faces representing Birmingham voters, and said he is looking forward to who might throw their hat in the ring.

“It has been my honor to serve alongside Commissioner Hoff, Commissioner Sherman and Commissioner Nickita. We’re grateful for their longstanding commitment and accomplishments as City Commissioners,” said Boutros in an email. “We welcome the strong interest among those who seek to serve as commissioners, and we’re fortunate to have many residents who are actively involved in the community and passionate about civic duty.”

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