Troy council to interview search firms to find new city manager

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 16, 2018

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TROY — Troy City Council members will interview the interviewers before they choose who will conduct the search for a new city manager. 

Council members discussed offering acting City Manager Mark Miller a six-month or one-year contract, but they did not move forward with that at the May 7 meeting. 

City Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek proposed the option, saying she is concerned with the time it will take to conduct a search. 

The council unanimously terminated former City Manager Brian Kischnick with cause March 11 after he was charged with assault. Kischnick pleaded no contest to domestic violence in the March 9 incident. His sentencing is set for May 21. 

The council appointed Miller as acting city manager March 11 in a 6-1 vote. Councilman David Hamilton voted no, saying that he wanted more discussion on the matter and that he did not have enough information, as a new councilman, to evaluate it. 

“If we could take a breath … involve members of the public, I think that would serve the community well,” Hodorek said, citing an “unprecedented time in the city’s history.” 

Hamilton said he supports a one-year contract for Miller to allow for a three- to four-month search. 

By city charter, the council must appoint a new city manager within 120 days of Kischnick’s termination. 

Councilman Ethan Baker said he appreciates what Miller has done, but Baker wanted to move forward in selecting an executive search firm. 

“If we appoint Mark (Miller) for a year, we’re skipping over an essential process,” he said. 

Councilman Ed Pennington pointed out that Miller would serve as city manager until the council appoints him or another candidate to permanently fill the position. “I don’t think we need to take a breath,” he said. 

Mayor Dane Slater urged Miller to “throw his hat in the ring” and apply for the position. 

“The community needs to see us go through this process. We do need to take our time. I don’t see a rush here,” Slater said. “I’d like to talk to a couple of these firms.” 

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm explained that while the city charter stipulates that the city manager position must be filled within 120 days, it does not specify what period of time the contract must span, “as long as there’s a contract.” 

The council unanimously voted to hold a study session June 4 to talk with three organizations that responded to the city’s request for proposals for an executive search: the Michigan Municipal League; Amy Cell LLC, in Ypsilanti; and Gov HR USA, in Northbrook, Illinois. 

The council unanimously approved a temporary salary adjustment April 9 to $162,000 for Miller. Kischnick had been earning an annual base salary of $161,267 when he was terminated. 

Miller had been earning an annual base salary of $127,749 as economic and community development director. 

The pay change was retroactive to March 11.