City Still Debating Firm to Search for New Manager

By CYNTHIA KMETT

The Troy Charter gives city council 120 days to name a new manager when they need a replacement. It’s been two months since they voted to fire Brian Kischnick stemming from a March arrest, and at the April 23 council meeting, they had the names of the firms who wanted to do the search, but asked for a bit more time to study them and postponed a decision.

It apparently wasn’t enough time. In fact, almost every councilmember had a favorite at last Monday’s May 2nd meeting, but they were all different. The city had posted the request for proposals to search for the new manager on the Michigan Intergovernmental Trade Network, and the request notified 437 search firms. The Human Resources Department presented six companies for council’s consideration.

After a few round-robin opinions, it seemed clear the council would prefer someone closer to home than the two firms in Texas. Councilwoman Edna Abrahim said she hopes the firms will come to Troy to see what we are about.

Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek said she likes the Michigan Municipal League (MML) as a search firm. “They know our city well, and they know Lansing,” she observed, noting that timing was a critical issue. She suggested that council give the job to the interim city manager, Mark Miller, for the next six months or a year, while the city “takes a breath.”

Councilman David Hamilton agreed with Hodorek to give the job to Miller for a year. Councilman Ethan Baker, however, said that if the charter says 120 days, they should at least try to make it happen.

Baker said he didn’t think that would be “doing government best” and it lacks transparency to just stop the process for a year.

Mayor Dane Slater agreed that it might look like they weren’t doing their due diligence. He said he’d like to bring in a couple of firms and asks them questions before making a final selection. He noted that was done in the past and a firm did show up to talk to council.

So there will be a 5 p.m. study session on June 4 to discuss the goals in selecting a new city manager. If it appears that they can’t meet the 120-day deadline, the council can appoint Miller to the position until a decision is made, City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm explained.

In other business, the city saluted Troy Youth Assistance on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. Mayor Slater presented a proclamation to TYA President Karl Schmidt, who noted that for the people who participate in TYA, “it is a labor of love for all of us.” He also noted that they have had more referrals of children at risk than in recent years. TYA’s goal is to help them now so they won’t be back in 10 years with other problems.

Council also approved the budgets for next year for the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Local Joint Development Finance Authority, and the Downtown Development Authority.

By the way, the reconfigured DDA is doing very, very well, Finance Director Tom Darling told council.