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Can a Township Supervisor unilaterally remove or replace members of the Township Planning Commission?

No. The Supervisor does not have this authority. MCL 125.3815(9) states that “the legislative body may remove a member of the planning commission . . . .” The Township Supervisor is not the “legislative body.” Rather, MCL 125.3803(e) defines the Township Board as the legislative body of the township. As such, only the Township Board may remove a member of the Planning Commission.

The Michigan Planning Enabling Act does allow the Supervisor to appoint the members of the Planning Commission, but this power is subject to approval by a majority vote of the members of the Township Board elected and serving. See MCL 125.3815(1). 

MCL 125.3815(9) also states that removal of a Planning Commission member must be done for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, brought by written charges and after a public hearing. In other words, the Board must have some legitimate, non-arbitrary reason for the removal of a Commissioner. That Commissioner also must be given a notice and a public hearing, at which the reasons for termination will be discussed, and at which the Commissioner will have an opportunity to be heard. Assuming cause is legitimate, and the Commissioner had an opportunity to be heard, the Board may then proceed to remove him or her. This assumes that all requirements of the ordinance establishing the Planning Commission, the Bylaws of the Planning Commission, and any other applicable policies have been met.

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