Grosse Pointe Park to start search for new city manager

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 18, 2019

GROSSE POINTE PARK — As Grosse Pointe Park officials prepare to look for their first new city manager in about 30 years, they’re getting some help in this formidable task.

Longtime City Manager Dale Krajniak is slated to retire June 30 after a career of more than 30 years with the Park, so the Park City Council will be getting aid from the Michigan Municipal League to find his replacement. At a June 10 council meeting, Mayor Robert Denner said the MML has executive search capabilities.

“They’ve worked with many municipalities across the state to fill leadership positions,” Denner said.

The council voted unanimously June 10 in favor of a national executive search proposal from the MML. The cost is $17,000 for the standard search, which includes meeting with the council and city staff to come up with a recruitment profile, advertising and marketing for candidates, screening and assessing all applicants, and coming up with a list of the best finalists for city leaders to select from for personal interviews. Denner said that money for the search would come from the general fund.

“It’s a very structured approach,” Denner said of the MML process.

The council could also later decide to add services such as a third profiling session with city stakeholders for $1,000, or a public meeting of semifinalists during the interview phase for $1,000.

The Park’s facilitator from the MML will be Jeff Mueller, a Grosse Pointe Woods resident who formerly worked as a city manager in Lathrup Village and was an assistant city manager in Grosse Pointe Park early in his career, Denner said.

“We’re fortunate the MML has been able to assign someone who knows us so well,” he said. “I don’t know that we’ll find another Dale … but we’ll do the best we can to find a qualified (replacement).”

The MML will look for “a good match” for the community — not just a candidate who looks good on paper, Denner said.

“The first phase (of the search process) is really developing a community profile,” said City Councilman Daniel Clark, chair of the council’s Personnel Committee, which also includes Denner and City Councilman James Robson.

Clark said that profile includes what elected officials want in a city manager as well as the benefits of the Park. The “collegiality of our governing body” and the long tenure of city managers in what can be a volatile, politically-driven business should make the Park appealing to prospective managers, Clark said.

“We want to attract the very best talent that we can,” he said.

Denner said the council members would need to hold a meeting to discuss what’s important to them and what they’re looking for. That meeting date hadn’t been determined at press time.

Assistant City Manager Nick Sizeland will be serving as the interim city manager during the search, Denner said.

Denner said he anticipated that the search process could take four to six months.

June 10 marked Krajniak’s final council meeting, but not his official send-off. Denner said the city “will plan something appropriate and significant” to acknowledge Krajniak’s service. At press time, a date and time for the event hadn’t yet been determined.