Council members Cardi DeMonaco Jr., left, and Monique Owens look over notes while discussing the city manager candidates Jan. 18.

Council members Cardi DeMonaco Jr., left, and Monique Owens look over notes while discussing the city manager candidates Jan. 18.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

Eastpointe City Council chooses top three candidates for city manager

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 24, 2018

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council held a special meeting Jan. 18 and chose its top three candidates for the Eastpointe city manager position. The council will now choose between James Ayers, Daniel Berlowitz and Scott Randall. 

The City Council will make a decision, following background investigations of the top three candidates, in about three weeks, according to Mayor Suzanne Pixley. No date had been set as of press time.

Prior to the council selecting its top three candidates, council members had selected five finalists out of 29 applicants: Ayers, Berlowitz, Joseph Merucci, Andrew Potter and Randall. 

Council members held a special meeting Jan. 13 to interview candidates inside the City Council chambers. 

Four of the five finalists were interviewed Jan. 13. Merucci and Potter were interviewed in person, and Ayers and Randall were interviewed via Skype. Berlowitz was interviewed via Skype during the council’s regular meeting Jan. 16.  

Ayers is currently the general services director for the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Ayers has a Bachelor of Science in engineering science from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University, according to information from the city of Eastpointe.

Berlowitz is a senior executive business consultant from Bellevue, Nebraska, according to résumé information provided by Eastpointe. Prior to being a senior executive business consultant, Berlowitz was the city administrator for Bellevue. Berlowitz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and graduate studies in political science and public administration from the University of Nebraska campuses in Lincoln and Omaha, according to Eastpointe.

Randall is from Cathedral, California, and is currently the general manager for PGA West, a 3,000-household gated community, according to Eastpointe. Prior to his current position, Randall was the general manager of The Camelot, a 140-unit independent living community for seniors in Hemet, California; the executive director for the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corp.; and the city manager for Auburn Hills, Michigan. Randall has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Illinois University, and he completed 51 hours of instruction toward a master’s degree in business at Western Illinois, according to Eastpointe. 

Eastpointe’s city manager position has been vacant since August. Former City Manager Steve Duchane — who served in the position for about six years — had an annual salary of $107,000, according to the city’s Jan. 12 press release. Merucci is currently the acting city manager.

Councilman Cardi DeMonaco Jr. suggested during the Jan. 16 meeting that the council have another special meeting to make decisions on candidates and background checks. 

“Instead of waiting three more weeks, we have another special meeting then, possibly, so that we can think about this and discuss, so we’re all just not having everyone wait three weeks to make a decision,” said DeMonaco.

Councilwoman Monique Owens at the Jan. 16 meeting said she wanted to “go back to the drawing board.”

“I want to go back to the drawing board and pick some more candidates. At least five more top candidates,” said Owens. 

DeMonaco said he had a similar thought. 

“That was another thought through my mind: to maybe bring additional candidates after seeing these five,” said DeMonaco. 

Councilwoman Sarah Lucido told the council Jan. 16 that she was only interested in interviewing one more candidate if necessary. 

“Personally, from going through (the list of candidates), I could probably only come up with one more candidate that I would be interested in interviewing out of everybody. I don’t think I would be able to come up with five,” said Lucido.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Klinefelt had a concern about the timeline with possibly adding candidates, and he said Jan. 16 that he would come in another day that week.

“I really don’t want to stretch out the process more than necessary,” Klinefelt said. 

After that, the council agreed to come prepared for deliberations Jan. 18. The council did not seek more candidates.