New assessor settling into role with Sterling

By: Cortney Casey | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 19, 2012

Dwayne McLachlan

With property assessments — and the resulting revenues — remaining a major issue in Sterling Heights, Dwayne McLachlan is in the hot seat, but says he’s ready for the challenge.

McLachlan joined the municipal staff in mid-November, taking over for long-time assessor Matt Schmidt, who left Sterling Heights for Shelby Township in late summer after more than two decades with the city.

“This is certainly a very large, dynamic community, and there’s a lot of different issues that confront the Assessing Office,” said McLachlan.

Sterling’s strong automotive presence makes its assessing challenges distinctive, he said, but otherwise, “by and large, it’s just more of everything” based on the city’s size. 

McLachlan — a certified master Level IV assessor, the highest designation available — has spent almost 40 years in the field, serving as city assessor in Brighton, Ferndale and Madison Heights, and, most recently, township assessor for Pittsfield Township.

The Farmington Hills resident, whose daughter lives in Sterling Heights, said he was attracted to the position by “the opportunities for more responsibility that the position offers.”

“We’re really lucky to have him,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “He has a great deal of experience from a number of areas in southeastern Michigan. We’re glad to have him on board. It’s a very important position — I know he’s hit the ground running already. We’re looking forward to getting back to some stability in the city assessor office.”

Between the time Schmidt left and McLachlan came on board, appraiser Roxanne Reeder stepped in to fill the void.

“I give her a lot of credit,” said Vanderpool. “It’s a stressful environment to just keep up with your normal workload because every department’s down positions. It’s a tall order, and she did it very well.”