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September 21, 2012

Fouts announces ‘shake-up’ at City Hall

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

Changes are afoot at Warren’s City Hall, and Mayor Jim Fouts said more could be coming in the days ahead.

Calling it the “time for a change,” and proclaiming “new blood” was needed in key positions of his administration, Fouts announced several personnel moves Sept. 20.

One of the changes, the mayor said, became necessary with the now-confirmed departure of Human Resources Director Denise Williams, who’ll leave the city Sept. 28 to take a job as the vice president of human resources with Macomb Community College.

Fouts said he’d appoint Sandy Jones, a personnel analyst who has worked for the city since 1986, to serve as acting human resources director.

Another appointment was necessary, the mayor said, because Williams’ responsibilities had included heading the city’s personnel, labor relations and payroll operations.

Fouts said he’d name Mark Simlar to handle the city’s labor relations matters. Simlar’s new title remained unclear, but he previously served as a labor relations assistant.

Another move announced by the mayor appeared more arbitrary.

Fouts said he made the decision to swap the job titles of Controller Rob Maleszyk and Assistant Controller Dennis Clark.

Clark, an assistant controller since 1997, will be named in an acting capacity to oversee the city’s financial books, while Maleszyk, hired in December 2010 to replace long-time city Controller Rick Fox when he retired, will take over Clark’s duties.

“I just thought (Maleszyk) would be better suited for assistant controller, rather than controller,” Fouts said. “Dennis Clark, who’s been here a long time, I thought maybe he has the experience and the background to be a better controller.”

Fouts cited no specific reason for the change in the controller’s office.

“I’m looking to infuse some new life into this administration,” Fouts said. “It’s a normal thing to do. You’ve got to inject new life into, sometimes, things that are static.”

The mayor also hinted at more moves in the near future.

He said the personnel changes had nothing to do with a federal subpoena served at City Hall in early August that sought various records.

“Nobody is secure. Everybody automatically comes up for a review,” Fouts said. “Nobody’s guaranteed a position. Mine comes up for a review every four years at election time.”

Warren City Council President Cecil St. Pierre said he was not aware of all of the details surrounding the changes and declined to comment on the mayor’s moves, except to say that Denise Williams’ experience would be missed.

“She has a lot of experience. You cannot recreate that experience, under those circumstances, that she’s been a part of for the city,” St. Pierre said. “I really believe that’s a big loss for the city.