The Eastpointe City Council voted 4-1 April 3 to go forward with the selection of an interim city manager at its special meeting that was scheduled for April 10 at Eastpointe City Hall. The meeting took place after the Eastsider went to press.

The Eastpointe City Council voted 4-1 April 3 to go forward with the selection of an interim city manager at its special meeting that was scheduled for April 10 at Eastpointe City Hall. The meeting took place after the Eastsider went to press.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Eastpointe schedules special meeting to name interim city manager

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 6, 2018

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council voted 4-1 April 3 to go forward with the selection of an interim city manager at its 7 p.m. April 10 special meeting at Eastpointe City Hall, 23200 Gratiot Ave.

In January, council chose Daniel Berlowitz along with two other candidates as finalists for the city manager position. In a special meeting March 7, council interviewed Berlowitz and offered him the position.

Council held a special meeting to negotiate Berlowitz’s contract on March 19, and another special meeting on March 27 to revisit the negotiations; at that meeting, the council voted for an April 2 deadline for Berlowitz to accept or decline the offer. The April 3 meeting discussion of an interim city manager was a result of council voting 5-0 to rescind their offer to Berlowitz during a March 30 special meeting.

In an interview with the Eastsider April 6, Eastpointe Mayor Pro Tem Michael Klinefelt spoke on the reason for the March 30 special meeting ahead of the deadline and the decision to rescind the offer. 

“During the contract negotiations, I thought our inability to come to an agreement that everyone felt good about concerned me. When I looked at how council felt about the decision as a whole, I thought we should only pursue if we had more support and were feeling good that our expectations should be met,” said Klinefelt. 

Councilwoman Sarah Lucido’s comments mirrored Klinefelt’s on the council’s decision. 

“Negotiations weren’t going as well as I’d hoped. After trying to negotiate with him, I realized we probably weren’t going to work together well,” she said April 6. 

“We weren’t meeting a middle ground together,” she added. 

Council had split 3-2 in favor of offering Berlowitz a counteroffer after Berlowitz made his own counteroffer to council’s initial job offer. Klinefelt said he didn’t blame Berlowitz for the council not wanting to go through with the offer. 

“Throughout negotiations, I think council and Mr. Berlowitz tried to negotiate in good faith. Sometimes the parties just don’t come to an agreement they are both willing to sign on to,” said Klinefelt.

During the April 10 special meeting, council plans to do a Skype interview with a candidate to be interim city manager. 

Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley, Klinefelt, Councilman Cardi DeMonaco Jr. and Lucido voted in favor of the interim city manager plan; Councilwoman Monique Owens voted against.  

Council had a candidate in mind for the position who isn’t available until May 1, according to Klinefelt. Council did not want to disclose the candidate’s information until the scheduled special meeting.

“We would have to reach out and say to him, ‘Yes, we want you,’ and take care of all the administrative work before that,” said Klinefelt. “If we want to do a special meeting, then I think we should schedule it pretty soon.” 

Pixley made comments about alternative ways to interview the possible candidate. 

“We can always schedule a Skype interview,” she said. 

According to Klinefelt, because of “how far” the candidate lives, Klinefelt agreed with the mayor’s comment about a Skype interview. 

Owens was unsure about hiring an interim city manager. 

“I guess my confusion is coming from how the interim manager helps us hire a new manager — is that how this goes?” she asked. 

Klinefelt said council has to “engage in another search” for a permanent city manager, but he still wanted someone in the position in the interim. 

“That would be my expectation hiring an interim. Whether or not we use a company to do the search or anything like that, we still have to decide it. Even so, I still want someone administratively overseeing that,” he said. 

Owens wasn’t in favor of the funds that would be spent during the process. 

“I just hate that we would hire an interim manager, and on top of that, later on, still hire another outside person. That’s a lot of money being spent for the interim, and after we’ve used him, we’re going to use (a Michigan Municipal League search) possibly, and then we still have an acting city manager and an assistant manager,” said Owens. 

Klinefelt responded with his opinion on the pros of having an interim city manager. 

“We don’t necessarily have to go through the search, but I think the interim — personally, I think we need the interim regardless of how we go with the search. I think I would not want to wait on that; I think we thought the search would conclude earlier, and so we have an administrator set up to last longer than expected. I think it’s a good idea to have an interim,” said Klinefelt. 

After discussion, council made a motion to go forward with the selection of an interim city manager at its April 10 special meeting, where they would go into further detail on how long the interim city manager would serve and the salary.