Clawson council appoints interim clerk as Smith leaves for new job

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published February 26, 2019




CLAWSON — After almost exactly nine years, Clawson City Clerk Michael Smith announced his resignation. He will be assuming an administrative position with the village of Wolverine Lake, which is closer to his home.

On Feb. 19, the Clawson City Council unanimously voted to appoint Victoria Mitchell, the current deputy clerk, to the position of interim clerk at a salary of $54,200.

The plan is for Mitchell to take over the role of clerk.

“We were, at this time, looking at the interim position to kind of see if she likes the job, see if it’s working out and what type of resources we need to make sure that she’s successful in that position,” Mayor Debbie Wooley said. “I think she’s great. She’s a huge asset to the Clerk’s Office.”

Wooley added that Mitchell has “been the information person here in the city” by updating the city’s social media accounts and posting the “after the gavel” recap of City Council meetings.

Councilwoman Susan Moffitt said she was pleasantly surprised to see an accounting background on Mitchell’s resume.

“She has received strong words of support from the outgoing city clerk. I think that’s good. He has confidence in her to take over this position, and her background is very good and diverse,” Councilwoman Paula Millan said.

Mitchell said she is currently in the process of undergoing the certification process for the position. At the end of March, she said, she will be two-thirds through the program, with completion set for March of 2020.

“In between then, I’m taking continuing education courses and different types of training and programs to make sure that I have the adequate number of hours,” she said.

She added that Royal Oak Clerk Melanie Halas has agreed to help mentor her and that she is in the process of ordering ballots for the Clawson school election in May.

“We are going to be absorbing 133 Royal Oak voters in the Clawson school district,” Mitchell said. “Everyone in Royal Oak has been exceptional in working with me.”

Smith’s last official day with the city of Clawson will be March 8, and he is set to begin his new job March. 11. Mitchell will begin her new role March 9.

“I will miss my daily interactions with everyone,” Smith said at the Feb. 5 City Council meeting. “I developed many relationships with fellow staff members and residents during my tenure. I feel I’ve done a lot here, learned a lot and grown a lot together.”

Smith added that he felt Mitchell would do an “amazing job” implementing the lessons she has learned in the Clerk’s Office and developing her own process.

“She’s really dedicated to the job and she’s impressed me over the last year and a half,” he said. “I will be hitting my nine-year anniversary on the 15th. It’s kind of that bittersweet moment, but I’ve had to do what’s best for my family, and it’s closer to home now, so thank you again for the opportunity to serve this community.”

Wooley thanked Smith for his dedication to the city.

“I’m very sad for us as a community and as a council, but very excited for you,” she told him at the Feb. 5 meeting. “You’ve done great things and identified solutions when people hadn’t even identified the problem, so you’ve been really proactive in your time here.”

The City Council also discussed hiring a part-time employee to help out in both the Clerk’s Office and the City Manager’s Office, since both departments are down to a single employee.

Wooley said the plan is to establish Mitchell as the interim city clerk until Clawson has a permanent city manager. Interim City Manager Richard Haberman’s three-month stint is set to expire at the end of March. On Jan. 2, the city hired Ypsilanti-based Amy Cell Talent as the executive search firm responsible for finding a new city manager.

The firm’s proposal includes a deadline of having the new city manager start March 25.

During a special meeting to discuss the city manager job search, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the city manager search criteria and job posting, including a salary range of $85,000 to $95,000, as outlined by Amy Cell Talent.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.