Official explores idea of Emeritus club

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 26, 2022


BIRMINGHAM — City Manager Tom Marcus is working towards forming an Emeritus Mayors Club to give former mayors an outlet to share advice and provide services to benefit the community. 

Marcus brought this idea to the City Commission meeting Jan. 10 when he asked for the approval of exploring this idea with mayors who are interested in forming. The idea was well received by the commission, but they ultimately decided to not approve the resolution because the club would be an independent entity. 

Marcus made clear that the group would be separate from the City Commission and would not interfere with any politics or decisions made. However, since the Emeritus Mayors Club will be an independent entity, the city’s legal counsel did not feel a formal recommendation to approve the group was necessary. 

“We think it’s a great idea,” Mayor Therese Longe said. “There’s no beating talking to somebody who’s got lived experience for some of the things that come before us, but since they would be completely independent, it wasn’t really our role to approve or disapprove the idea. It’s up to them.”

Marcus is working on the early stages of organizing the club and said there are multiple former mayors who seemed excited about the opportunity when he initially reached out. 

“I think it has a lot of positive potential, and the feedback I received from the former mayors that I sent the initial letter to was very positive,” Marcus said. 

Due to their time in city government, Marcus feels the former mayors still play a valuable role in the community and could continue benefiting the community beyond their term. He thinks they have great ideas and insights that they can offer to current and future generations.  

“​​Just because they are not on the council anymore doesn’t mean they still don’t have a passion for the community,” Marcus said. “My thought was, it would be nice to get them together so that we could draw on their knowledge, draw on their insight and possibly have them do almost like a think tank for us. We could throw them a problem once in a while and ask them to kick it around and see what they think.”

Marcus thinks there are many areas where the former mayors have a place in the community and could contribute in a variety of ways. 

“They are a unique group of people that have a very unique perspective about the community, having served in those roles,” Marcus said. 

He also sees potential in this club to create their own nonprofit status and raise funds for different projects in the city. In addition to the advice and service aspect, Marcus said there are social and cultural elements involved as well. 

More information about the Emeritus Mayors Club will be available once the process of organizing moves along.