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) STATE OF MICHIGAN
FRANK J. KELLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL
HUSBAND AND WIFE:
Authority of mayor pro tem to solemnize marriages
A city charter provision which authorizes its mayor pro tem to act in the mayor's stead during the mayor's absence, includes the authority to solemnize marriages.
Opinion No. 6985
June 8, 1998
Honorable John J. H. Schwarz, M.D.
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
You have asked whether a city charter provision which authorizes the mayor pro tem to act in the mayor's stead during the mayor's absence includes the authority to solemnize marriages.
Information supplied with your inquiry indicates that a city charter provides that its mayor pro tem shall act in the stead of the mayor during the mayor's absence and shall succeed to the office of mayor, in the event a vacancy occurs in that office.
The marriage law, 1846 RS c. 83, MCL 551.1 et seq; MSA 25.1 et seq, governs marriage and the solemnization thereof. Section 2 provides that a marriage requires consent of the parties, followed by the issuance of a license and by solemnization as authorized by sections 7 to 18 of the Act. Section 7, which delineates those persons authorized to solemnize marriages, provides in relevant part as follows:
(1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
STATE OF MICHIGAN
In Cytacki v Buscko, 226 Mich 524; 197 NW 1021 (1924), the court considered the issue of a mayor pro tem's authority to act in the mayor's absence. In that case, the mayor pro tem had terminated a mayoral appointee pursuant to a city charter provision vesting the mayor pro tem with the power to perform the duties of the mayor during the mayor's absence, without any express limitation on such authority. The court found that unless a mayor's absence is so prolonged as to render the mayor unable to perform the duties of that office, a mayor pro tem may not interfere with mayoral duties or usurp mayoral authority, such as firing a mayoral appointee. However, the court pointedly noted that during a mayor's absence, a mayor pro tem "may, of course, perform the routine duties of the office and meet such cases of emergency as may arise." Cytacki, 226 Mich at 530. (Emphasis added.)(f) A mayor of a city, in the city in which the mayor serves.***
(3) If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.***