LP city manager’s exit prompts debate on position

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — As the city prepares for the absence of City Manager Steve Duchane, whether to replace him remains a question among current and prospective city officials.

Duchane was hired in 2004 to guide Lincoln Park’s administration, and last month accepted a reported $105,000 annual salary for the position in Eastpointe, a $3,000 raise from his current salary.

As with many cities, the mayor of Lincoln Park is a part-time position, and day-to-day city hall operations are managed by a professional administrator.

Both the position and Duchane are topics of controversy. Before joining the Lincoln Park staff, Duchane was fired from a similar position in Sterling Heights when it was discovered that his university credentials were falsified.

Replacing Duchane will likely be discussed at tomorrow’s city council meeting, both the search for candidates and the value of the position to be filled.

Mayor Frank Vaslo said there was no question that the issues facing Lincoln Park, or any community, must be met with professional experience.

“This city needs a full-time administrator,” Vaslo said, citing complex negotiations, strategies and challenges which require specialized skills to manage.

City Councilwoman Susan Moreno, speaking during a Meet the Candidates forum Wednesday, supported both the position and Duchane’s efforts since taking the job.

“It is imperative to continue on the path developed by Mr. Duchane,” Moreno said.

Others, both current councilors and candidates, disagreed.

“I’m opposed to that position,”Councilman Thomas Murphy said. “I believe the citizens want me to roll up my sleeves, not sit here and watch.”

Thomas Parkinson, a challenger seeking a City Council seat, said that the people of Lincoln Park want one of their own in charge at City Hall.

“We don’t need an out-of-towner coming in to tell us our jobs,” Parkinson said. “I don’t believe the city should be run by outsiders who don’t want to live here.”

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)