Eastpointe City Council tables timeline for city manager search

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 13, 2017

EASTPOINTE — Last week, Eastpointe’s City Council decided to table discussion on its city manager search timeline until its next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at City Hall, 23200 Gratiot Ave.

Prior to the motion to table at the Sept. 5 meeting, Eastpointe Mayor Pro Tem Michael Klinefelt made a motion to not use the Michigan Municipal League’s services for the search, but there was no support for the motion. Klinefelt was not happy with the potential timeline for the search per the MML, which indicated that the search might last at least into November.

The Eastpointe council had approved at its Aug. 15 meeting a proposal for MML to perform an executive search for a city manager.

According to Eastpointe Assistant City Manager Randy Altimus at the meeting Sept. 5, the cost would be $18,000 and the MML would not bill the city until the search is completed.

After discussion at the Sept. 5 meeting, Councilman Cardi DeMonaco Jr. made a motion to table the timeline approval until the next meeting.

DeMonaco, Councilwoman Sarah Lucido and Mayor Suzanne Pixley voted for the motion. Klinefelt voted against.

The council voted 3-2 not to renew former Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane’s contract during its June 6 meeting.

Altimus recommended a motion for council that would let him authorize dates for future meetings and approve the Michigan Municipal League’s timeline for the city manager search.

Altimus said he had asked Kathie Grinzinger, lead executive recruiter for the Michigan Municipal League, to give the council a timeline of what’s to come.

“I asked Kathie Grinzinger to give us a highlight of where we’re going to go next. I wanted the council to have an opportunity to look at what she perceived as our next step. I can work with her on specific dates to work with you folks through the process, but I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page,” he said.

“Once I get through this part and meet with her, we can start getting dates set up and start moving forward through the process,” said Altimus.

According to Altimus, the dates in the email from Grinzinger were just a recommendation and could be changed.

“Those were just her recommendations at this point. That’s why I left the motion open to let me work with her on the dates,” he said.

In an email, Grinzinger suggested meeting “one day at the end of October that will include Department Directors and invited stakeholders,” and on a second date after the November election.

Klinefelt said that when the council started discussing a new city manager, he thought the search would be farther along by now.

Klinefelt also added that he thought the services of the MML would “really help” the council, but he doesn’t think that’s the case now.

Klinefelt thought the council would be in contact with Grinzinger before the dates she proposed in the email.

“I had a lot of questions and I had a lot of stuff I wanted to follow up with, and I was just going to do that at the first meeting we had with her,” he said.

According to Klinefelt, before hiring Steve Duchane, Eastpointe didn’t use MML’s services to hire, but only to “(post) on their website.”

“From the date that council agreed that they wanted to pursue hiring a city manager to the day they made an offer was 84 days. We are now 91 days from when we decided we need to search for a new manager,” he said.

Klinefelt said that part of the city’s agreement was that Eastpointe could “terminate at anytime any of the services that haven’t been rendered yet,” and with the timeline proposed, Eastpointe “could try it” themselves.

Mayor Pixley said the delayed timeline for the search may have something to do with three open council seats in the general election.

“I think the main reason why there is such a delay is because of the (uncertainty) of City Council come November. There are three positions that are open, and that was the reason why — because it’s highly doubtful you’re going to get anyone to come here and interview, given the idea that you have three out of four City Council positions that could be filled by other people than what are sitting on the council,” said Pixley.

Klinefelt said he felt the council was “capable of sorting through resumes, coming up with questions and interviewing” someone who was right for the job.