It’s official: Duchane gets the job

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 28, 2011


EASTPOINTE — Council voted 4-1 on a contract to hire Steve Duchane as the city manager at a special meeting held last week.

The contract sets his salary at $105,000 — an amount too high for Councilwoman Wendy Richardson to agree to.

The overall cost to the city, including salary, medical and deferred compensation, is $116,200 — with $6,400 in deferred comp and $4,800 in lieu of medical.

The final contract amount was negotiated down from Duchane’s counter-offer of $117,796. Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Klinefelt split the difference between what Duchane wanted and what the council offered, and both parties agreed on the ending number.

Richardson was worried about the council’s ability to negotiate down other contracts in the city if Duchane’s was too large.

“I just cannot vote for a contract that increases your wage,” said Richardson. “Because this is about a much bigger issue.”

Duchane told council that real savings aren’t in salary cuts — they are in long-term and health care costs.

“I took some comparables and the total compensation for a police sergeant here would be $147, 245 on the average, for a patrol officer (it) is $143,400,” he said. “Just as perspective.”

He moved funds from deferred comp and medical costs and added them to salary, saying that at this point in his life that is where he would rather have the funds go.

Richardson maintained her stance that where the funding went mattered and that it would create too many difficulties for his salary to be set at $105,000.

Others on council didn’t agree.

“I can see that. I’m not calling you old, but I am sure at this point in your life, you have already set up something for the future. So wanting to move funds from retirement to salary is fine with me if it makes sense for you,” said Councilman Bill Sweeney before making a motion to offer Duchane, who is 55, the contract at $105,000.

After the council agreed, Mayor Suzanne Pixley made the offer formal.

“Do you accept our offer?” she asked him.

He paused, then replied yes —“as long as the lawyer doesn’t sneak in any language that isn’t here now.”

Everyone laughed.

“I’m a fan of sarcasm,” Duchane said. “It keeps the tone light, but lets people know where you draw the line.” Everyone laughed again and right on cue Sweeney, the joker of the bunch, looked over and said, “We’ll get along just fine then.”

Duchane is expected to start in Eastpointe sometime in mid-to- late October. His contract is for one year.