Eastpointe City Council votes to move forward with filling director vacancies

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 15, 2018

File photo

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council unanimously voted May 1 to move forward with looking at search firms to fill its two vacant positions of public safety director and public works director. 

The Eastpointe Public Safety Department is made up of Eastpointe Fire and Rescue and the Eastpointe Police Department. It is currently under the supervision of Deputy Chief Eric Keiser. Previously, John McNeilance was the director. 

Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley told the Eastsider May 10 that McNeilance retired in December 2017 as public safety director and was brought on board for the position because of his experience. 

Pixley also mentioned May 10 that the Department of Public Works director position has been vacant “for some time.”

Interim City Manager Ryan Cotton gave the council updates May 1.  

“The applications have been received for the director of public safety. The deadline was April 30,” said Cotton. 

 According to Cotton, 14 applications were received and he was “impressed and pleased with the quality of applications” submitted. Several internal candidates applied for the position, Cotton said. 

Cotton said that he thought it would be best if the council proceeded with an assessment center approach. 

“It’s a process and it is described by which professionals that are knowledgeable about what’s needed in a public safety director position assist in the process, and that’s not unusual. They will help as many times as needed,” he said.

The assessment center approach also lets you “fairly compare” candidates, Cotton said.

“We know the strengths of our internal candidates — we may think we know everything about them — yet when you compare them to external candidates in a setting … these strengths and weaknesses are clearly exhibited in a way that enables you to make the very best choice possible,” Cotton said. 

Since Cotton was impressed with the applications, he believed the assessment center approach would allow the process to move forward instead of the council beginning a new process with new applicants. 

Councilman Cardi DeMonaco asked if this process would be using the same firm used to find Cotton as the interim city manager, and how much it would cost.

Cotton said the cost would be about $8,500. 

“That’s the price for the firm that I currently serve; others should compete for that,” said Cotton. 

Cotton also mentioned that he would not participate during certain parts of the process to find a public safety director. 

“I will not be active in any of the process from this point forward. In terms of which firm is recommended, that will solely be up to our assistant city manager, because I have a relationship with one, and I don’t want to be part of your conclusion from this point forward,” said Cotton. 

“When you hire someone, I will be back involved and do what I need to do, but between now and then, I will not,” he added. 

While council nor Cotton discussed applications for the DPW director position, DeMonaco made a motion to move forward with the search process. 

“I make a motion to go forward with looking at search firms for our two director positions: director of public works and director of public safety,” said DeMonaco.