September 19, 2014

City to begin search for new city manager

Position may be limited to part-time

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — The City of Standish has begun a search for a new city manager following the resignation of former City Manager Michael Moran in June.

At its monthly meeting on Thursday, July 21, the city council decided to move forward with a search for a new city manager, following city charter guidelines stating that an elected official cannot perform the duties of a city manager on an interim basis.

Mayor Mark Winslow said the charter will not allow for him to be appointed to the position.

“We need to hire someone,” he said. “The charter stipulates that we have an administrator in place. It specifies there are certain duties, specified under city ordinances that the city manager must perform. I can be in the office and do things as mayor and help out, but I can’t officially perform the duties of the city manager.”

Winslow said that the board will take an appropriate amount of time to look at candidates.

“We’re not compelled to immediately hire the first person that walks through the door,” he said. “We have to be prudent about this situation and we need to take the time to hire the right person.”

According to Winslow, a change in the charter is not something Winslow and the council want to do at this time.

“We can’t just change the charter,” he said. “Any changes to the charter will take an extended period of time.”

Another issue the city will face is funding for the position. Winslow said that whoever takes the job will have to negotiate a salary with the city council.

“The city council decided that we are going to seek out someone who can perform the duties of the position at a part-time or interim basis,” he said. “We don’t have much money right now. We won’t advertise an amount of money that will be earned with this position; we will negotiate.”

Winslow said applicants will have until Monday, Aug. 8 to submit applications.

“The city council will then hold a special meeting for Aug.11 to interview candidates,” he said.

Winslow said only one candidate from the community has expressed interest in the position at this time.

“After Mike (Moran) resigned, one person came to me and expressed interest and said, ‘I am interested,’” Winslow said.

Winslow said all candidates will be given an equal opportunity to be hired for the position. He added that during his time with the city council, two city managers have been hired with no one locally coming forward to be interviewed.

“We have always had to go outside of the community to fill this position since I have been here,” he said. “If that is something you have to do, then you have to do it. But its good when someone from the community shows interest, embraces the community, lives here and cares about the community. From my standpoint, that carries a lot of weight.”

The board chose to table a discussion regarding the possibility of expanding the hours of the clerk/treasurer and administrative assistant positions to five days a week from four days a week.

Winslow said there are other options the city council will consider as well.

“We discussed bringing them (clerk/treasurer and administrative assistant) back to full-time, or we may keep them at four days and increase their salary,” he said. “We could also keep everything status quo.”

Winslow said the council will continue discussions after a decision is made about the future of the city manager position.

He added that the person who gets the position will be the person with the best qualifications.

“This city needs an administrator who will have their finger on the day-to-day operations of the city and look at the big picture,” he said. “We need someone who is familiar with grant processing, what’s going on in Lansing, what’s going on with the prison, (who can) help the city take advantage of the opportunities out there.”

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