Interviews set for city manager candidates

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Ideally, Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause said the new city manager will bring the needed professional experience with a sense of local priorities to the job.

“In this day and age a city needs a city manager,” Diaz Krause said of the position, vacant since Steve Duchane resigned in September 2011. “It’s got to be the right person that can understand and carry out the goals of the mayor and council.”

Working with consultants from the Michigan Municipal League, a pool of applicants have been screened; city officials will review potential candidates tomorrow and schedule tentative interviews for Jan. 21. Ten candidates were recommended for consideration, and Diaz Krause said they hope to interview the top three.

The need for a full-time manager, a specialist in municipal policies and procedures, raised questions among council members both during and after the November election. Some, including City Council President Thomas Murphy, disagree with the need for the position, especially in an era of tight budgets and staff reductions.

Duchane made a reported $102,500 annually for the job he accepted in 2004. The new manager is expected to make at least that much, and Murphy and others believe the voters would be better served by existing staff taking on the manager’s duties.

Diaz Krause agreed with her predecessor, Frank Vaslo, and said that the challenges and opportunities facing local governments require skills and experience that existing staff may not have.

“I don’t know how a municipality runs without a city manager,” Diaz Krause said.

Diaz Krause said she hopes the new manager will be in place some time next month, and she looks forward to working with them as she has embraced her first elected office since defeating Vaslo in November.

“I love it,” Diaz Krause said. “I love interacting with the employees and having residents come in and talk to me. Honestly, I’m really excited.”

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