New deputy city manager announced for Madison Heights

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published June 26, 2023

 Cheryl Rottmann, the city clerk of Madison Heights, has been appointed the new deputy city manager. She will continue her clerk duties as well.

Cheryl Rottmann, the city clerk of Madison Heights, has been appointed the new deputy city manager. She will continue her clerk duties as well.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MADISON HEIGHTS — Cheryl Rottmann, the city clerk of Madison Heights, will now take on a dual role as the deputy city manager. The appointment follows the retirement of the previous deputy, Corey Haines, who was also the police chief.

Members of the Madison Heights City Council were quick to commend Rottmann for the role, citing her familiarity with city operations at all levels.

“I have an incredible amount of faith in Cheryl, not just in her abilities to handle the duties of the deputy city manager, but also to leverage them in a way that will have a significant positive impact for our residents directly,” said Mark Bliss, the mayor pro tem.

Rottmann said she will assist City Manager Melissa Marsh with crafting policies, managing and mentoring employees, and by filling in as the acting city manager when Marsh is absent.

“City Manager Marsh is a transformational leader, and I am fortunate to have this opportunity to be part of this team, and to learn from her insight and expertise,” Rottmann said via email.

“Personally, I am a participatory leader, guiding employees, and encouraging them to provide feedback and participate in decision making,” she said. “I want all employees to be the best that they can be, not only for our residents but for themselves, so that they can obtain their professional goals and aspirations.”

Rottmann has served in her role as city clerk since 2014, and will continue to do so alongside her new duties as deputy city manager. Prior to her work in Madison Heights, she was the clerk of Berkley.

As the clerk of Madison Heights, Rottmann serves about 30,000 residents, of which 20,000 are registered voters. The clerk’s office runs elections, prepares council agendas, records meetings, publishes notices, manages boards and commissions, compiles data for state and federal programs, and keeps records such as birth certificates, death certificates, permits and licenses.

In addition to her full-time staff, Rottmann manages more than 100 part-time election workers, recruiting and training them. She places local initiatives on the ballot, prepares ballots and test decks, maintains election equipment, codes ballots for tabulation, verifies petitions, and processes affidavits of identity, ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.

During her time with Madison Heights, she has modernized the clerk’s office with new systems and software, streamlined the business license process, and restructured boards and commissions, including the process for new appointees.

She has also consolidated and relocated precincts for improved efficiency and voter access, implemented new voting equipment in 2017 and a high-speed tabulator in 2020 to improve the absentee counting board process, and conducted community outreach efforts to increase the city’s permanent absentee ballot application list by 700%.

Rottmann said that the clerk’s office is gearing up to implement changes approved by voters across the state last fall in Proposal 22-2.

“Most impactful to our residents will be nine days of early voting, prepaid postage for absentee ballot applications and ballot return envelopes, and the ability to have a one-time request to receive an absentee ballot for all elections,” Rottmann said, noting that the option for the one-time request will be on the absentee ballot application that voters will receive for the Nov. 7 election.

Sean Fleming, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said that Rottmann is not only tuned into what’s happening in town, but also issues at the state and federal levels.

“I believe she will do a great job in this new role as the deputy city manager,” Fleming said.

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, welcomed Rottmann to her new role.

“I am thrilled to be bringing Cheryl on as our deputy city manager,” Grafstein said in an email. “Cheryl has done an impeccable job conducting and supervising all aspects of elections, and outside of election time, she has been instrumental in helping to streamline meetings and other administrative processes. Her experience and knowledge will be a great asset as she takes on this new role.”

Bliss said he appreciates Rottmann’s leadership skills and creative thinking.

“She’s very forward-focused and tech-savvy, which is important to me, since technology can make such a difference for our residents,” Bliss said. “She’s also done an incredible job of mobilizing all of our Election Day poll workers. Every resident I’ve spoken to who has worked a poll here has nothing but incredible things to say about Cheryl and the clerk’s office. She has been a steadying force for her department, and an innovative thinker, and I have no doubt that she would make an excellent city manager.”