Robert Bruner has been named Troy's new city manager.

Robert Bruner has been named Troy's new city manager.

Photo provided by Troy Community Affairs Director Cindy Stewart

Robert Bruner to take on Troy city manager position

By: Sarah Wright | Troy Times | Published April 16, 2024


TROY — The Troy City Council has chosen Deputy City Manager Robert Bruner to take over the city manager position following Mark Miller’s upcoming departure.

The unanimous decision came during a City Council meeting April 8. The council looked through several applications and was considering Bruner and Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep as the two finalists for the position.

Miller will officially retire from the position May 31. He was selected for the position in 2018, originally on a five-year contract. During his time as city manager, he had to work through some turmoil within city government in the wake of scandal surrounding his predecessor, former longtime City Manager Brian Kischnick, who was convicted of bribery charges and was accused of improper behavior while in office, which led to his firing in March 2018.

Miller’s career in Troy started in 2000 as the principal planner, before becoming the planning director. Miller was later promoted to the city manager’s office in 2009, where he held the positions of acting assistant city manager – economic development services, and later the director of economic and community development.

Bruner earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, economics and management from Albion College and a master’s degree in public administration from Wayne State University. He has served as deputy city manager since 2019 and has held the city manager position in other communities, including Mount Clemens, Birmingham and Ferndale. He has held the assistant city manager position in Oak Park and Ypsilanti, and has served as the CEO of the Michigan Municipal Services Authority.

“Troy city government is much different today than when I joined in 2019,” Bruner said in a letter to Jaymes Vettraino, GovHR USA vice president, for the city manager position. “I am excited to work with the Mayor and City Council members to continue the progress without losing momentum.”

Bovensiep has a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Phoenix and an associate of science degree in criminal justice/law from Oakland Community College. Within the city of Troy, he has served as public works director and manager, the parks and recreation department supervisor, and as a general laborer and arborist.

“I am writing to express my strong interest in the City Manager position within the City of Troy - a city I have proudly served with dedication for the past 24 years,” Bovensiep said in a letter to the Troy mayor and City Council members. “Not only was I raised in Troy. I am a second generation employee with deep roots in the community. I bring a wealth of experience and strong connections with residents who know me and recognize my unwavering commitment.”

During the City Council meeting, all the members of the council acknowledged the strengths of both candidates.

“One of the candidates that I hoped would apply and said I thought he should was Kurt Bovensiep,” Troy Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Hodorek said. “I worked in the city many, many years ago and first saw him as a young employee and watched him work up through the ranks. I consider him a colleague and one of the most qualified people to be stepping forward. … He is so customer-oriented with great public servanthood,” she said.

“The other candidate came into the fray after a very, very difficult time. … It was Bob that brought experiences from previous posts he had, lessons he had learned, ways we could improve. … Bob has a way of looking at things in a pretty black-and-white way. He’s analytical.”

Council member Rebecca Chamberlain Creanga noted that she has had good personal and professional experiences with both Bovensiep and Bruner.

“Kurt has left an impact with my family,” Chamberlain Creanga said. “We saw him during Troy Daze, out there picking up garbage and being a servant leader. I’ve also had great conversations with Bob that show how much he knows Troy and how he approaches problem-solving.”

Though both candidates received positive feedback from all the council members, they unanimously selected Bruner to take on the city manager position due to his lengthy experience as well as his current work with the city.

“Kurt is a phenomenal DPW director, and his path in the city government can go as far as he wants it to,” Troy City Mayor Ethan Baker said. “We need a city manager that’s going to keep things working so well and also allow the council to push the city manager where we know the trouble spots are. I look forward to working with Bob in that capacity as his consistency is going to help us. We have high expectations, and we hope you’re up to the challenge.”

Council member David Hamilton said of Bruner that “some of the big issues we need to tackle is the need for library and infrastructure improvements, and I think you’re the person to do it. We support you and look forward to working with you.”

After the decision, Bovensiep said that his “commitment is to the city of Troy and will continue to be. I’m happy the council was able to come to a decision, and Bob was a wonderful candidate who will do a great job.”

Bruner said he is excited to take on this position and that he’s “glad the outcome turned out the way it did, and I’m looking forward to working together as a team. It was a unique and unusual process, and I’m glad the council made the decision they made.”

He plans to make efforts to get out and meet the community and continue to work with the council and the community, he said.

Following the decision, Miller addressed the Rotary Club of Troy’s lunch meeting at the former Bank of America building at 2600 W. Big Beaver on Wednesday, April 10.

“The city manager’s vision doesn’t matter,” Miller said. “The purpose of the position is to work with the council and go where the council wants you to go. I’ve committed the last five years to stabilizing the city and creating a good place to work. Troy’s reputation is the Somerset Collection, being an employment center and having great schools, and the financial health of the city is currently great with a good AAA bond rating.”

He also conveyed his plans to retire to Marquette and potentially offer consulting services for professional planning, zoning and economic programs in the future, though he will be focusing his upcoming summer on fishing on Lake Superior and spending time with his family.

Miller expressed that the City Council’s decision on Bruner as city manager will work well for the city and that Bruner will do a fine job.

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