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Eastpointe City Council names new city manager

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 9, 2019

 Elke Doom accepted a contract to serve as Eastpointe’s new city manager. Doom previously held city manager positions in Valdez, Alaska; Oxford, North Carolina; and Princeton, West Virginia.

Elke Doom accepted a contract to serve as Eastpointe’s new city manager. Doom previously held city manager positions in Valdez, Alaska; Oxford, North Carolina; and Princeton, West Virginia.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council voted to offer a contract to city manager candidate Elke Doom at its special meeting Nov. 26. Doom announced Dec. 2 that she had accepted the offer.

The contract was approved 3-1 by the Eastpointe City Council. The initial contract is for two years, after which time it would need to be renewed.

“I think she seemed very personable, and I think she will bring a lot of good ideas to the city,” said City Councilwoman Sarah Lucido. “I think she’s very progressive, and she will come up with a lot of ways to move the city forward.”

Doom previously served as a city manager for Valdez, Alaska; Oxford, North Carolina; and Princeton, West Virginia. Doom earned an associate degree in business management from Henry Ford Community College in 1996, a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2007 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2009 from Siena Heights University, and she became a certified city manager at Saginaw Valley State University in 2012.

“I have 26 years of municipal experience. This included work as a tax assessor and appraiser or managing communities,” Doom said. “(Being a city manager) really interests me — to be a part of good government and be a part of the lives of people in the community. It’s my passion.”

Her tentative start date was Dec. 9, after press time. City officials said that 39 people had applied for the job, nine of whom were considered by the City Council after meeting the city’s required criteria for the position.

Doom said she believes she will be the best person to help improve the city of Eastpointe.

“I think I’m a good fit because of the experience I have, the knowledge I gained, and I have lived in the Detroit area most of my life,” said Doom. “The area has had its trials and successes, and I am familiar with the local economy.”

Doom said her first priorities will focus on getting to know her new community and the people in it. She said that the greatest challenge the city is facing is probably the local economy, and she wants to make strides to improve it while she is city manager.

“My first priority is getting to know the community. I want to better understand the goals of the council, the needs of the community. I want to be available, visible, transparent and open to the community,” she explained. “I think the economy has put a damper on the community’s goals, and as the economy turns around, and as the city turns around, we will be better able to meet our goals.”

Mayor Monique Owens voted against the contract. She said her vote was not due to a disapproval of Doom, but rather because she wanted Doom’s proposed salary to be lowered from $122,000 per year to $117,000 per year, which would be more in line with what the city’s previous city managers were earning.

“She has some good ideas and some good experiences from different places,” said Owens. “I think when you come to a community and you don’t have all the experience necessary, you shouldn’t get paid more money.”

Owens added that she thought the increase was not warranted due to Doom missing what Owens believes is an important aspect of experience when it comes to being an administrator in Eastpointe.

“She said in her interview that she didn’t have experience in diversity in different communities. Most of the communities she had served in didn’t have the level of diversity that Eastpointe has,” Owens said. “I’m not saying she can’t do the job, but I would feel more comfortable with someone who has those qualities.”

Owens added that despite that one complaint, she hopes the community comes out and supports Doom.

Doom said she thinks it is a fair criticism; however, she added that she places a strong importance on diversity and hopes to be proactive in fostering and improving diversity in the Eastpointe community.

“I think that’s a fair statement. It’s just a matter of when I am hired into a community, I don’t choose the diversity,” she said. “However, I have made efforts in the communities I’ve worked in to increase diversity.”

Councilman Harvey Curley said he likes that Doom is coming in with some new ideas and an attitude that suggests she will be an active part of the community.

“She’s visionary, she doesn’t subscribe to the status quo, she’s going to come in with a lot of good ideas, she’s very transparent — which is important — and she wants to work not only with the council and mayor, but with other groups in the community, like the Lions Club or the (Veterans of Foreign Wars), so she will be a part of this community,” he said.

Curley also said that he was impressed with Doom’s attitude toward bringing in more businesses to the area.

“She wants to bring more businesses into Eastpointe, particularly along Kelly Road. There are a lot of vacant storefronts in that area, and she’s already thinking of ways she can help get businesses to move into those spaces.”

Council members said that they were pleased with Doom overall.

“I’m excited to have her start,” Lucido said. “I think she will do a lot of good for Eastpointe.”

Doom said she is equally eager.

“I am really looking forward to being a part of the Eastpointe community, and meeting people and getting to know the city,” Doom said. “I am very excited to be here.”