A city charter change that needs community input

The city council and the mayor want to increase the candidate pool for city manager.
That’s a good thing.
In order to do that, they came up with a city charter revision proposal that would change the current charter requirements. It will take voter approval in the Aug. 7 Primary Election to make a change in the charter.
Currently the charter has stringent requirements: A candidate must have at least three years experience either as city manager or assistant city manager in a city with a population of at least 10,000 or more.
That requirement has prevented dozens of candidates who are otherwise experienced in similar government roles but lack the exact title, or those who have worked in communities with smaller populations.
The proposed changes would allow candidates with similar experience, but possess different titles. The proposed change also does not have a community population requirement, and goes one more step more: it allows the council and mayor to waive the requirements with a 3/5ths vote of the mayor and council.
Here is the proposed charter change:
“In addition to the required qualifications of the city manager provided elsewhere in this charter, any city manager hired shall have the following qualifications: a minimum of three years experience as a chief municipal administrator, assistant chief municipal administrator, or equivalent governmental experience, and be the holder of a degree from an accredited college or university.
“These qualifications may be waived by a three-fifths vote of the council and mayor upon considering other qualifications of any candidate for such position.”
That opens things up.
Our concern is waiving the requirements in a 3/5ths vote. That allows a majority – albeit it a super majority – to hire someone not truly qualified.
That person may be friend, perhaps, or in other words a crony. Who knows what can happen down the road?
We will reserve judgment on this proposal in the hopes that there will be public debate on the matter. One thing is for sure: the charter requirement to hire a city manager needs to be changed.
Is this the change we need?
Tell us what you think.

April 27, 2018

2 Responses to A city charter change that needs community input

  1. John Dory

    April 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I believe the possible danger here is political cronyism.

    Fortunately, the TAB Board nixed the appointment of Kyle Tertzag to the City Manager position. Kyle left his acting city manager post in 2013 under mysterious circumstances shortly after Cathy Square assumed office as emergency manager. Until the actual circumstances of his departure are fully explained, he should NOT – and I emphasize NOT – be considered for an appointment to the city manager seat in Hamtramck.

    But the current qualifications stopped an otherwise acceptable candidate, Mr. Gabor, who had served as City Treasurer and Deputy City Manager from the post of city manager.

    I was disappointed that an eminently qualified Steve Duchene was not appointed.

    It is my sincere hope that appointment will be based on merit rather than political cronyism.

  2. Fred Szatkiewski

    April 30, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Let’s hire a competent city manager

    The State of Michigan was so concerned we would appoint an incompetent nincompoop, they paid $20,000 for a search firm to evaluate prospective candidates.

    We need an experienced city manager – not some insider schmuck.

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