Beleaguered city administrator steps down

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — In an effort to help quell recent controversy over several issues, City Administrator Eric Waidelich has announced plans to resign his position.

He made the offer during a special City Council meeting last Sunday amid problems stemming from the city’s financially strapped Studio Center property and officials’ recent decision to lay off the entire Fire Department. The council voted unanimously to accept his resignation; Waidelich will step down Friday.

According to published reports, Waidelich’s resignation letter said the city was going through challenges, and that he did not to “inhibit the undivided attention these issues require and deserve.”

He also discussed the possibility of staying on with the city as a consultant.

Council members as of press time had not announced plans or a timetable for selecting a new administrator.

At a Feb. 22 council meeting, officials announced plans to deliver 30-day layoff notices to the entire Fire Department. Many residents approached the podium to demand that Waidelich resign, blaming him and Mayor Gary Burtka for their roles in the possible firefighter layoffs and the $1.2 million per fiscal year lost by the Studio Center since its inception in 2009.

Councilor Felice Lalli echoed those sentiments at the meeting, blaming the layoffs on Waidelich’s failure to address contract negotiations with the Fire Department sooner.

“Apparently our administrator is overwhelmed in his job, and my opinion is he should step down from his of-
fice,” Lalli said.

In a recent television interview, Waidelich called himself a “political distraction,” and said a portion of the council did not believe he should have his current job. He also said, however, that the majority of members did not feel that way.

The city’s attorney firm, Flood Lanctot Connor Stablein PLLC, is to take over negotiations with firefighters if no settlement is reached before Waidelich’s departure. The city has until March 26 to complete negotiations.

(Contact Andrea Poteet at apoteet@bewickpublications.com.)

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