A senior Labour politician has urged the council not to overlook or ignore the people of Birmingham as the political battle commences to find a new city leader.
Siôn Simon MEP warned the new leader would be an unknown to the majority of the city's residents and therefore would need to work hard offer the visible and accountable leadership Birmingham needed.
Next month, just 78 Labour councillors will meet in private to elect the new council leader following the resignation of Sir Albert Bore this week.
The shroud of secrecy and lack of public engagement has already been condemned and a petition launched calling for a more open process.
But Mr Simon, who famously resigned his Erdington seat in the House of Commons to run for elected mayor of Birmingham five years ago, said: "I've always thought that Birmingham needs a visibly accountable figure.
"Whoever the new leader will be, they need to make the effort to engage with citizens, not simply just seek the comfort of looking to their colleagues for answers.
"Birmingham needs leadership and direction but the city is bigger and better than those who sit in the cabinet and we should be embracing that."
Mr Simon's mayoral plans were thwarted when the people of Birmingham voted against having an elected mayor in the 2012 referendum.
He is now a West Midlands MEP and is thought by many within the regional Labour Party to be a likely candidate if or when there is a West Midlands mayor.
He urged the next leader to go out into the city, pointing out that he or she is likely to be unknown in large parts of the city.
"If we look to London, whether for good or bad, everyone knows the mayor," he added.
"They know who to moan about or who to praise when they've got an issue with what's going on in their area.
"But we don't have that here and that's a major benefit of having an elected mayor."
On the regional mayor issues, he added: "Politics is changing and the way people engage with politics is changing.
"We need to transfer the decision-making process back to the the people, which is what an elected mayor allows for, and not further alienate people from the political process."