Clawson hires firm to find new city manager

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 8, 2019

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CLAWSON — On Jan. 2, the Clawson City Council voted 4-0 to hire Ypsilanti-based Amy Cell Talent as the executive search firm responsible for finding a new city manager.

Councilwomen Paula Millan and Susan Moffitt pushed for Amy Cell over the other two candidates — GovHR USA, which the city used to find interim City Manager Richard Haberman, and the Michigan Municipal League.

Despite citing GovHR USA as their first choice, Mayor Deborah Wooley and Councilman Howie Airriess both supported the motion to hire Amy Cell for a base search fee of $15,000.

According to Amy Cell’s proposal, the potential timeline includes interviewing city officials and community members to determine a vision for a desired candidate, drafting and posting notices, reviewing candidates, performing interviews, assisting with negotiations and having the new city manager start March 25.

Haberman’s three-month contract is set to expire at that time.

“In looking at the price and the very detailed timeline given, I prefer the Amy Cell organization, and given that they were recommended by the city of Madison Heights, their cost seemed lower than the other two,” Moffitt said. “They seemed the most economical, and they had the most succinct timeline.”

Wooley said she liked GovHR USA because the point person is familiar with Clawson and she had “great experiences” when she reached out to them to help with the interim city manager search.

“Looking at the MML option, theirs was the longest timeline of the three, and I prefer not to do that,” she said. 

Moffitt maintained that she felt GovHR USA did not provide enough options or resources for finding an interim city manager and that she liked Amy Cell’s recruitment guarantee agreement, which states that if the chosen candidate does not work out after a year, Amy Cell will waive its base search fee and conduct a new search for 60 days to provide a replacement candidate.

“It seems like (Amy Cell has its) feet on the ground here, and I really like that,” Millan said. “They have great education and great experience and great connections.”

She added that she also liked that representatives from Amy Cell attended the Jan. 2 meeting.

Airriess said that Amy Cell was his second choice, so he would vote for “whatever everybody is comfortable with.”

After the City Council unanimously selected Amy Cell to perform the executive search for a new city manager, founder and President Amy Cell said she was honored to work with Clawson and would be contacting Clerk Michael Smith the next day to begin setting up appointments.

“We’ll get the contract done,” Cell said. “We trust you all and we just want to get to work right away.”

On Nov. 20, the Clawson City Council approved a separation agreement between itself and City Manager Mark Pollock, who worked for more than 18 years as the city’s finance director, as well as the city manager for the last nine years.

The split happened abruptly, and, according to reports, Pollock was cleaning out his office Nov. 8.

City officials declined to comment on the circumstances of the departure.

Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson served as acting city manager until the City Council appointed Haberman as the city’s interim manager in a 3-2 vote Dec. 4.

Haberman served as Clawson’s city manager for almost four years before leaving, citing personal reasons, in 2009.

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Ulbrich was absent from the Jan. 2 meeting.

For more information, visit www.cityofclawson.com or call Clawson City Hall at (248) 435-4500.

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