Covering an area of 33.31sq mi and a population of 80,823, Farmington Hills is Oakland County’s second largest city and part of the affluent northwestern suburban areas of Metropolitan Detroit in Michigan State (City of Farmington Hills, 2017). Farmington Hills has also been consistently graded among not only Michigan’s but the nation’s safest cities and highest-income places.
The Farmington Hills local government assumes the Council-Manager form of government led by the mayor and council members. The city council comprises the mayor and six members all voted into office directly by the voters. The current mayor is Kenneth Massey and the council members are Randy Bruce, Richard Lerner, Michael Bridges, Valerie Knol, Samantha Steckloff and Theresa Rich. While the mayor can only serve two two-year terms, council members can serve unlimited four-year terms. The city council, in turn, appoints a city manager, city clerk and city attorney. The city manager, Dave Boyer, runs the city’s routine operations while the city clerk, Pam Smith, maintains resolutions, city codes and ordinances. The city attorney, Steve Joppich, is charged with the responsibility of legal representative and advisor on all city issues.
Current public events, programs and initiatives include the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) that started in 2014. There are also continuous events, programs and initiatives with regards to health, millage, energy and security. For instance, with regards to security, the Farmington Hill Police Department offers its command desk lobby or parking lot for its residents’ use when trading with strangers. However, on the other hand, Farmington Hills is also faced with the challenges accompanied by a growing aging population. According to the 2010 population census and more recent estimates in 2014, the 55-64 age group and 65-74 age group are at 15% and 10%, respectively, of the city’s total population (City of Farmington Hills, 2017). This has increasingly strained the public health budget as well as raised concerns among the public on the effectiveness of the public health policies of the local government. In the labor context and income generation, Farmington Hills is rated as one of the nation’s highest income places (City of Farmington Hills, 2014). This has, consequently, put pressure on the local government to maintain the ranking through its employment and industrial relation policies by opening up several unemployment bureaus that address the plight of the unemployed that in December 2016 stood at 2.4%. It is worth noting that this was a significant reduction from 12.8% in 2009 (City of Farmington Hills, 2017). From a similar perspective, in order to maintain its security rating, the local government has largely targeted the youth to ensure that they develop into responsible citizens who contribute positively to the society. As a result, there were concerns raised about strict admission policies to public schools for children who moved into the area from other places and especially from outside the state of Michigan.
With regards to security and the admission of children to public schools, the local government was forced to design policies that adhered to the legal requirements of the nation being an equal opportunity land for all. Therefore, subjecting a certain segment of the population to different admission standards would go against the spirit of non-discrimination. To address the issue, several initiatives such as the Mayor’s Youth Council were formed to deal with and resolve teen issues. The rationale behind this council was that while no child would be denied education by raising school admission barriers, they would be engaged in social spheres to help them grow into morally upright citizens who would protect the city’s status. To ensure nationwide compliance and give the local government a universal image, the council sends delegated to all National League of Cities conferences and events. Further, the local government not only implemented policies that welcome communities from all ethnical, racial and cultural backgrounds, it also formed the Commission for Children, Youth and Families. Essentially, this commission works in collaboration with the Farmington Public School District, the Multi-Racial Multi-Cultural Commission (MRMC) and the adjacent Farmington to form a larger community to address the issue of equality.
To address challenges arising from public outcry regarding to public policies such as that of school admission, it is suggested that the local government increases the level of public participation in policy formation. With regards to the growing number of the aging and the healthcare accorded to them, it is suggested that the local government reviews health insurance policies to extend and expand cover, again via increased public participation. Unemployment can be addressed by giving unemployed personnel priority in all local government contracts, especially in unskilled casual labor that the council usually outsources.
- City of Farmington Hills. (2014). City of Farmington Hills employees’ retirement system and post-retirement healthcare finance fund. Oakland: Author.
- City of Farmington Hills. (2017). Farmington Hills, Michigan.