Former Huntington Woods city manager recognized for 42-year career

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published October 14, 2015


HUNTINGTON WOODS — While Alex Allie spent 24 years as Huntington Woods’ city manager, his career spanned more than 40 years, including time in the city manager’s offices in Berkley, Novi and Owosso, as well as some time spent working for the state of Michigan.

It was Allie’s continued work to help Michigan communities that saw him receive the John M. Patriarche Distinguished Service Award in September from the Michigan Local Government Managers Association during the 2015 Michigan Municipal League Convention in Traverse City.

The award, created in 1992, recognizes MLGMA members who have fostered a representative government and enhanced effective government through programs and professionalism in their communities.

“It was quite a surprise to me, as the previous award winners are really esteemed company and giants of the state,” Allie said. “It is very humbling to get an award like that, as it is the top award a city manager in the state of Michigan can get.”

During Allie’s career, he served as an administrative assistant to the city manager in Berkley, as assistant city manager in Novi, and as city manager in Berkley and Owosso. Allie also served on the MML board of trustees, the League Finance and Taxation Committee, and the MLGMA board of directors.

The MLGMA essentially is a professional association for Michigan city managers, Allie said, that provides training and helps keep city managers up to date on the trends in state laws and policies.

MLGMA President and Rockford City Manager Michael Young said Allie’s long career helped benefit the communities he was a part of.

“Alex is an icon in the municipal manager’s profession. He’s someone that we all look up to,” Young said. “Equally as impressive is what he’s been able to do for the communities he’s been involved with. Longevity and consistency is critical to the health of a community, and Alex is a great example of that.”

Allie moved to Berkley when he was 16 and graduated from Berkley High School. When he turned in his resignation letter to the Huntington Woods City Commission in August 2013, he said the 55-hour work weeks had added up and he was ready to tackle some new projects he had been putting off.

While much of Allie’s career was spent in a city manager’s office, he said his time working for the state government helped him get a better understanding for how state government works, which only aided in his time as a city manager.

It was his time in Huntington Woods that sticks out, as he spent more than half his career in the town of roughly 6,200 residents.

“I was in the profession for 42 years, which is hard to believe,” he said. “Huntington Woods is a community that is very well-educated, and there is a very high degree of resident participation, and it was an honor to serve that town. Overall, it is fiscally sound and has received numerous awards and recognitions for being a very strong community, and I was glad to be a part of that.”

Since retiring as city manager, Allie said he has enjoyed doing some graduate-level teaching in government and finance courses, as well as some consulting. But it is the time he gets to spend with his grandson, who lives out of state, that reinforces his decision to step down.

Still, being recognized for his work as city manager is surprising, as he never looked to take any of the credit for his job.

“That is part of (a city manager’s) code of ethics: that we provide the day-to-day, the vision for the future and the stability, and give the credit to the elected officials,” Allie said. “I was one who stayed out of the limelight and didn’t look for accolades. But I had a good run.”