Clawson authorizes executive search for new city manager

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 20, 2021


CLAWSON — On Sept. 7, the Clawson City Council voted to forgo the request for a proposals process and choose from three proposals submitted to the city in 2018 to select the executive search firm responsible for finding a new city manager.

The council also voted, out of Amy Cell Talent, the Michigan Municipal League and GovHR USA, to go with an updated proposal from GovHR for a base fee of $22,500. The proposed timeline includes a six-phase approach, including the appointment of a finalist within 14 weeks.

Councilwoman Susan Moffitt cast the single nay vote on both items.

During a special meeting Aug. 10, the Clawson City Council approved a resolution terminating City Manager Michael Smith in a 2-1 vote, with Mayor Reese Scripture and Mayor Pro Tem Lou Samson in favor and Moffitt against. Newly appointed Council members Glenn Shepard and George Georges could not participate in the vote, as advised by City Attorney Renis Nushaj.

“I just want to point out that this is our fourth city manager in less than two years. I have never, ever, ever had a problem getting an answer from (Smith),” Moffitt said Aug. 10. “I would like to point out that things did happen.”

Scripture and Samson maintained that Smith did not make movement on goals and objectives that were identified in work sessions, such as addressing infrastructure needs and budget concerns, and improving leadership and stability.

On Sept. 7, Scripture said the three firms who vied against each other in the city’s last request for proposals are “pretty much the only game in town” and she reached out to them to update their submissions.

Moffitt said she did not wish to start an executive search with less than two months until the Nov. 2 election. The only sitting person on council guaranteed a spot is Samson, and Moffitt said the incoming council may want to approach the topic entirely differently.

“I think we need to leave it to the new council,” she said.

While Samson originally proposed a motion to hire the MML and Shepard said he was most familiar with MML and their track record and credentials, Georges and Scripture said they leaned more toward GovHR.

Georges said he liked the firm because the city would be working with an employee of the company, not a subcontractor, and Scripture said she had heard positive reviews about the firm’s personalized recruitment process.

Moffitt said she had no preference.

Samson subsequently amended his motion to hire GovHR.

Clawson Police Chief Scott Sarvello, who currently also serves as assistant city manager, indicated that he would be willing to take on the role of interim city manager until a permanent replacement could be secured. On Aug. 13, the council voted unanimously to appoint Sarvello as the interim city manager and authorize Nushaj to negotiate a contract with Sarvello.

On Sept. 7, the council voted 4-1, with Moffitt against, to give Sarvello a weekly stipend of $750 on top of his regular compensation to fulfill the duties of interim city manager.

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