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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 6150

April 14, 1983


Board of commissioners--vote needed to appoint members of authority

A county board of commissioners composed of seven members, all of whom are present at a meeting, may act to appoint a person to fill a vacancy on an authority by favorable vote of four commissioners.

Honorable Mitch Irwin

State Senator

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

In your request for an opinion you have advised that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners appointed an individual to the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority upon the following vote: Of the seven-member board, three voted yea, two voted nay, one voted for another person, and one abstained. You have requested my opinion upon the following question:

Was a vote of three, by a seven-member county board of commissioners, all of whom were present, sufficient for passage of the appointment under the prevailing circumstances?

The Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority was established by an interlocal agreement pursuant to the Urban Cooperation Act, 1967 Ex Sess PA 7; MCLA 124.501 et seq; MSA 5.4088(1) et seq. The interlocal agreement may provide for a separate legal or administrative entity to administer the agreement. 1967 Ex Sess PA 7, supra, Sec. 7. By the interlocal agreement, each constituent governmental unit that is a party to the agreement appoints its representatives to the authority. There is nothing in the urban cooperation act to indicate the quantum of vote necessary for appointments to be made by the governing bodies of the parties to the agreement.

The method by which a county board of commissioners transacts its business is set out in 1851 PA 156, Sec. 3, as last amended by 1978 PA 326; MCLA 46.3; MSA 5.323, which provides, in pertinent part:

'A majority of the members of the county board of commissioners of a county shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the ordinary business of the county, and questions which arise at its meetings shall be determined by the votes of a majority of the members present, except upon the final passage or adoption of a measure or resolution, or the allowance of a claim against the county, in which case a majority of the members elected and serving shall be necessary. . . .'

It is unnecessary in this situation to determine whether the quantum of vote must be a majority of the members present, or a majority of the members elected and serving, because the full seven-member board elected and serving in Chippewa County was present. In the situation you have described, the vote for the appointment of the individual would require a majority of the seven-member board present, which would be four. A vote of three in favor of appointing the particular individual would not be sufficient under 1851 PA 156, Sec. 3, supra, for a majority passage by a seven-member board of commissioners, all of whom were present. Tetro v Wayne County, 283 Mich 131; 277 NW 856 (1938); OAG, 1973-1974, No 4814, p 149, 150 (May 9, 1974); OAG, 1981-1982, No 5897, p 176 (May 12, 1981).

It is my opinion, therefore, that the appointment in the circumstances you described would have to be approved by a majority of the seven-member board of commissioners present in order to comply with 1851 PA 156, Sec. 3, supra.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

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