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February 19, 2014

Center Line takes department meetings on the road

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

CENTER LINE — Why meet in a boring conference room at City Hall when there’s a whole world outside?

That’s the idea behind Center Line’s plan to take its monthly meeting of department leaders on the road, first to individual city department offices and now to businesses in the community.

“We actually go out and take our department head meeting, and we hold our regular meeting with a member of their management,” Center Line City Manager John Michrina said. “Whoever’s the host gives us a talk about their organization, and then at the end, we take a tour of their facility.”

Over the last few months, officials have met at Whitlam Label Co., the Kramer Homes Co-Operative and Binson’s Home Health Care Centers. The March meeting will be hosted by Chrysler Group LLC’s Mopar facility in Center Line.

“We call it our road trip,” Michrina said. “I really like it. I’ve got management with different viewpoints sitting in with our department heads.”

The meetings are also opening opportunities for partnership between city departments and the community.

At Kramer Homes, for example, Michrina said the city was able to work with management to keep fire lanes clear through the cooperative sale of salt.

Dennis Champine, manager of the Kramer Homes Co-Operative, said the arrangement lets the co-op buy salt from the city at a rate that’s cheaper than they could otherwise get it.

“Because of the amount of ice and snow we have, as a private nonprofit entity, we were having a hard time securing rock salt,” Champine said. “We’re still maintaining the fire lanes, which are effectively city of Center Line property, and I’m having a really tough time right now trying to find a salt supply without paying an exorbitant amount.

“It’s more than just rock salt. It’s everything that relates to having the support of your local municipality. They’re also getting support from us,” Champine said.

Michrina said the idea started with mini road trips to various city departments that hosted the meetings. He said many of the department heads were new at the time.

“Most of our department heads hadn’t been to another department,” Michrina said. “Once we had done all the departments, then we took it out to all the businesses.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.