Clawson City Council approves new city clerk

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 13, 2021

 The city of Clawson recently appointed Lynn Henry, of Swartz Creek, to the position of Clawson city clerk.

The city of Clawson recently appointed Lynn Henry, of Swartz Creek, to the position of Clawson city clerk.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

Advertisement

CLAWSON — The Clawson City Council recently approved the hire of new City Clerk Lynn Henry, who previously served as deputy clerk for Grand Blanc Township and clerk for the city of Linden.

Henry, a resident of Swartz Creek, said she had been interested in the Clawson city clerk position for “a while” because she prefers a city setting. She saw the job listing on the Michigan Municipal League and submitted her resume that way.

Interim City Clerk Machele Kukuk, a longtime Clawson resident who retired from the city of Clawson after serving 15 years as clerk and nearly 40 years in various other roles, was rehired to assist with clerical tasks and city elections and is familiarizing Henry with the city’s system.

The city of Clawson has seen a lot of transition, especially in the Clerk’s Office.

The city hired Kukuk on a contractual basis to help oversee the November 2019 election after former Clerk Victoria Mitchell left the position to assume the city clerk position in Berkley in September 2019.

In February 2019, the city had appointed Mitchell, who served as deputy clerk for Clawson, to the position of interim city clerk and eventually city clerk after former Clerk Michael Smith, who worked for the city of Clawson for nine years, announced his resignation to assume an administrative position with the village of Wolverine Lake.

On Feb. 18, 2020, Clawson Deputy Clerk Jennifer Perkins, who was hired in July 2019, swore in the most recent city clerk, Catherine Kristian, of Highland Township. Kristian resigned shortly after, and Perkins also left the city following the conclusion of the November 2020 election.

Smith’s administrative position with the village of Wolverine Lake ultimately did not work out. In a 3-2 vote Aug. 5, the Clawson City Council approved a contract with Smith to serve as city manager. He was one of six finalists vying to fill a vacancy left by former City Manager Erin Irwin, who resigned after less than a year on the job in response to Clawson Mayor Reese Scripture’s “grave concerns that were coming to not just my attention, but many people’s attention.”

Kukuk said the city of Clawson opted to select a candidate after the November election because the period before the election was a busy time for all. The city also opted to go out for a second round of candidates for the city clerk position after the process initially led to a single candidate.

While Kukuk and Smith intended to present four candidates for the city clerk position the second time around, Kukuk said two dropped out and the City Council, after conducting interviews, opted to appoint Henry to the clerk position.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Henry said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get back into being a city clerk.”

Henry said she was glad Clawson officials agreed to let her start after the November election, during which she was busy serving a population of approximately 32,000 registered voters, and she hoped the Clawson clerk position is her last stop on the road to retirement.

“I like the small city feeling better than a large township,” Henry said. “The over 9,000 voters in Clawson is the perfect size to still do the duties as clerk and still be able to run an election fairly easily.”

Kukuk said she plans to stick around to provide training as needed and enjoys serving the city of Clawson, but she is excited to return to her duties as a grandmother.

“We’re happy to have (Henry),” Kukuk said. “She’s a good fit for us, for sure.”

In regard to the transition in the city of Clawson, Smith said the Building Department director position is vacant following the retirement of Jim Albus in February 2020. While Clawson currently contracts building official Brian Vargason and planning consultant Giffels Webster, Smith said the city will be evaluating the best process moving forward to “make sure we have the right people in the right positions” over the next few months.

“With the finance director, we do have an intern right now,” Smith said. “We’re working on that, looking at prices over the next few months and evaluating our budget.”

The only other opening, he said, is the deputy clerk.

“I was waiting for (Henry and Kukuk) to figure out the best process as (Henry) comes on board and figures out what she wants to do,” Smith said. “It’s kind of in the evaluation phase.”

Clawson recently renewed its contract with the city of Troy to assist the Clawson Police Department with lockup and dispatch services, and Smith said the city plans to set up a performance review soon for interim City Attorney Renis Nushaj, who has served in that position following the September 2019 resignation of former City Attorney Jon Kingsepp.

“I commend and appreciate all the hard work of all the staff, employees and residents, working together and adhering to a lot of patience and understanding,” Smith said. “People have been stepping up, taking on different roles and different hats during this time and making sure we’re all here for each other doing the best we can with what we have.”

Smith added that the Department of Public Works recently concluded all of the city’s hydrant testing, and a big focus moving forward will be determining how to finance local infrastructure, particularly city-maintained roads.

“We consistently have residents ask how to get information. We do have a notification system on the website. In the new year, we will really try to ramp that up and get more information out to residents, including emergency information,” he said. “There’s also a newsletter through Parks and Recreation to keep residents up to date.”

For more information, visit cityofclawson.com or call (248) 435-4500.

Advertisement