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Grosse Pointe Shores advertises for new city manager

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 23, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The search for a new Grosse Pointe Shores city manager is on.

The Shores recently started running an ad through the Michigan Municipal League’s website for a city manager to fill the position formerly occupied by Mark Wollenweber, who retired Oct. 3. Candidates have until Jan. 13 to apply for the post, which is listed as having a salary range of $60,000 to $80,000.

Although that salary is low for this position — LinkedIn says the average base salary for a city manager in metro Detroit is $102,000 — Shores Mayor Ted Kedzierski said that’s because they’re looking for a part-time manager for “financial purposes.” He said the Shores hasn’t had a full-time city manager since Brian Vick left in 2011.

Candidates are being directed to email résumés, cover letters and references to the MML’s executive search team at execsearch@mml.org, but Kedzierski said that at press time, the Shores hadn’t entered into an agreement with the MML to coordinate the search.

When Grosse Pointe Park engaged the MML’s executive search division to look for a new manager this summer, it paid $17,000 for the MML and MML recruiter Jeff Mueller — a Grosse Pointe Woods resident and former assistant city manager in the Park — to lead the search, go through résumés and find the best candidates for the Park, based on criteria supplied by the City Council. The Shores’ MML ad states that candidates with questions about the post can reach out to Mueller at jmueller@mml.org.

“We haven’t signed an engagement letter (with the MML),” Kedzierski said. “Whatever we do will be in an open and transparent manner.”

As of the Shores City Council’s last meeting Dec. 17, there had been no vote to authorize funding for an executive search. Kedzierski said City Councilman Robert Barrette is leading the city manager search committee.

The Shores’ failure to appoint an interim city manager immediately after Wollenweber’s departure led to criticism by former City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Bisballe, who resigned from the council after its Nov. 19 meeting. Bisballe said the matter was “handled terribly.”

“The city manager left and there was no replacement; there was no plan in place,” Bisballe said.

After a month and a half of having no interim city manager, the Shores City Council emerged from a closed session Nov. 19 and voted 4-3 to name Building Inspector Tom Krolczyk as the interim manager. Bisballe said he, Barrette and City Councilman Doug Kucyk voted against naming Krolczyk as the interim manager, while Kedzierski and City Council members Danielle Gehlert, Matthew Seely and John Seago voted in favor of the appointment.

Kedzierski said that unlike many other cities — including several of the Grosse Pointes — the Shores doesn’t have an assistant city manager because of its “small size.” He said Wollenweber was working for the Shores part time and wasn’t in the office on Fridays.

“In Mark’s absences, Tom (Krolczyk) was there,” Kedzierski said. “I kind of viewed him as the assistant city manager.”

The Shores city charter requires that the city name an interim or permanent city manager within 90 days, so Kedzierski said the council’s mid-November vote was in keeping with that mandate. He said they didn’t want to choose an interim manager earlier because voters were selecting three council members in November — at least two of whom would be new because two incumbents weren’t running again.

“We were waiting for the new council” before selecting an interim city manager, Kedzierski said.

Krolczyk said he’s been working for the Shores since 1998. Besides serving as the building inspector, he’s also the elections administrator, harbor master and webmaster.

As to whether he plans to apply for the permanent city manager position, Krolczyk laughingly said, “Absolutely not.”

The MML ad calls for someone who is “community-minded” and an “out-of-the-box thinker,” and Kedzierski said they’re also looking for a city manager who is a “team player.” Administrators and city staffers said one of the qualities they most appreciated about Wollenweber was his emphasis on working with them and seeking their input.

“We have a great team,” Kedzierski said of the Shores’ staff and administrators.