Baumgarten approved as assistant city manager

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 19, 2024




ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores City Council approved Matthew Baumgarten as the new assistant city manager and human resources director in a 6-0 vote on April 15.

Mayor Kip Walby was excused from the meeting and Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman Candice Rusie led the discussion.

Baumgarten was the city manager in Berkley for eight years and previously was the assistant city manager in Lathrup Village. The previous St. Clair Shores assistant city manager, Michael Greene, left the position to pursue the city administrator position in Lathrup Village.

City Manager Dustin Lent said the pool of candidates consisted of eight people and that it was narrowed down to the top five. He also said they are extremely excited to bring forward Baumgarten as the final candidate for the position. A few of the council members reached out to Baumgarten and others for more information.

Baumgarten was not present at the meeting as he was at a council meeting in Berkley.

Rusie said she found Baumgarten very knowledgeable and experienced.

“I think he would be able to help out the city,” Rusie said.

She also asked what the assistant city manager would do. Lent explained Baumgarten would act as his right-hand man.

“Being able to bring in a wealth of knowledge, we’re hoping that the transition time is going to be quicker than what normally would incur,” Lent said.

With the emphasis in human resources, Lent said Baumgarten would also work on updating any HR policies and procedures.

“Also as well working with each one of the department heads and just moving this city forward,” Lent said.

Councilman Dave Rubello asked if Baumgarten is able to write grants.

“I don’t want to speak for Matt, but any time you’re in a lead role and you’re running as a city manager, you’re always heavily involved in grants,” Lent said.

Councilman John Caron said he talked to Baumgarten and also said he is very knowledgeable.

“It may seem weird of a city manager coming over to do an assistant city manager (job),” Caron said. “Well, we are four times as big. He did say we’ve got some large projects that are going through that he is very excited about.”

Caron also said he looked at the job posting and noticed it didn’t have very many HR-related items and that he would hope Baumgarten would worry about taking the lead role and not just the policies.

“He’s a one-stop shop in Berkley for everything in the city manager’s office as well,” Caron said. “So he’s dealt with everything from hiring, negotiating. They’ve got a(n) Act 345 pension system as well.”

Councilman Chris Vitale said he didn’t reach out to Baumgarten but that he did conduct a lot of research. Through his research, he found out a lot about his background.

“He seemed excellent, well qualified for the job,” Vitale said.

Councilman Ronald Frederick made the motion to approve the agenda item and Rubello seconded the motion.