Royal Oak city manager resigns; deputy appointed in interim

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published December 18, 2023

 Paul Brake

Paul Brake


ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak’s city manager has resigned from his position, and the city has elevated the deputy city manager to serve in the top job for the time being.

City Manager Paul Brake submitted his resignation to the City Commission on Nov. 30, to be effective on Dec. 1. The commission recognized and accepted his resignation at its Dec. 11 meeting.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your City Manager over the last three and a half years,” Brake stated in his resignation letter. “I am truly grateful for the amazing team of professionals that I have had the pleasure of leading, and for everything we have been able to accomplish together.”

“From improving … the impact and efficiency of City services, to enhancing the quality of life for those that live and work in Royal Oak, I am confident that the City of Royal Oak is well-positioned to continue its progress under the stewardship of the remarkable staff at City Hall,” he continued.

“I will miss the incredible professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with throughout the years and wish them all the best as they write Royal Oak’s next chapter,” the letter concludes.

Brake declined to comment on why he decided to resign.

The now-former city manager, who started with Royal Oak in May 2020, did say that he planned on staying in his profession, as he enjoys the work he’s able to do.

As far as what Brake was proud of during his more than three years in the city, he cited his involvement in a multiyear strategic plan and the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, allocation plan.

“Having a solid plan increases the likelihood of greater future progress, mapping out what are our priorities and where we need to focus our attention,” he said.

Brake also mentioned the passage or renewal of several millages that will help the city as it moves forward.

“Each effort or campaign, if you will, all of them were successful. That includes millages for public safety, roads, parks, the animal shelter and older adult services,” he said.

At the Dec. 11 meeting, the commission appointed Deputy City Manager Todd Fenton as interim city manager.

Mayor Michael Fournier said the city is going to “let the dust settle” and let Fenton work in this role while the council considers the next steps of the process of permanently replacing Brake.

“It’s an opportunity for us to see how (Fenton) fits in this role,” Fournier said. “It’s also an opportunity for him to see if he likes this role. From there, we’ll take whatever next steps are best for the city down the road. There’s no foregone conclusion, but he is deputy city (manager). He’s stepping up to fill the role. If it’s a role that he’s interested in keeping, certainly we’d be interested in having him as a contender for that role.”

Fournier also stated that he was grateful for Brake’s three and a half years of service to Royal Oak.

“He came at a tough time around COVID and we certainly wish him the best in his next endeavors, whatever they may be,” he said. “I always had a positive working relationship with Paul, but in the business of city management, city managers all across the country come and go and it’s part of business.”