City Manager Ben Hughes resigns

Mike Smith named acting city manager

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 2, 2012

In a special Nov. 1 City Council meeting, members voted unanimously to accept the resignation of City Manager Ben Hughes.

“He has decided to sort of go in a different direction,” said Mayor Kip Walby, speaking the next day. “We wish him well, wish him success in his future endeavors.”

Council members discussed the matter in closed session, then voted 7-0 to accept Hughes’ resignation. Walby said Hughes was not present at the meeting.

City Attorney Robert Ihrie said council voted to give Hughes a severance package of six months’ insurance coverage and four months’ salary continuation. Mike Smith, who was the assistant city manager under Hughes, has been named acting city manager while St. Clair Shores searches for a new person for the post.

Walby said that search would likely take three or four months. The city will be reaching out to several search firms, which will make presentations to City Council so members can decide which is best to assist the city. Then, he said, the chosen firm will provide himself and City Council with candidates to choose from.

The city has moved forward under Hughes’ direction, Walby said.

“The last two-and-a-half years, we’ve had successful years in aspects of budgeting, adding to our rainy day funds, and several projects have been successful and moved the city forward,” Walby said. “It’s unfortunate. Change is hard.”

But he said the city would continue its momentum.

“We have good department heads, we’ve got strong leaders throughout the community. Mike Smith has been involved a number of years with the city,” he said. “I’m confident that we’ve got a good group of department heads and a good group of people. At this point, we expect no other changes. We’re looking for a city manager.”

Walby said Hughes’ contract expired in early October and they had had several meetings about it since then.

Hughes could not be immediately reached for comment.