By Charles Sercombe
Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer wasted no time in starting to reshape her administration now that the state has returned local control.
The first adjustment she has made was replacing the city attorney. At last week’s city council meeting, she introduced a resolution to replace John Clark with Jim Allen.
Clark is technically with the law firm Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton. James “Jim” Allen is part of the Allen Brothers law firm.
Allen is no stranger to Hamtramck.
He has been in and out of city hall for the last several years. He originally came on board when Tom Jankowski was mayor in 2005.
Prior to Allen’s hiring, John Clark was the city attorney under emergency manager Louis Schimmel.
When the city fell into a financial crisis once again four years ago, the state took over control and fired Allen. That’s when John Clark came back.
Did everyone follow that?
The appointment of Allen last week caused a rift between Majewski and her allies on council, Ian Perrotta and Andrea Karpinski. Allen has been a political supporter of Majewski.
The mayor supported Allen’s return, while Perrotta and Karpinski instead favored bidding out legal services.
“It just seems to me if we’re going to spend this much money, we should go for a bid,” Karpinski said.
She also added that hiring Allen “seems like a backroom deal.”
Perrotta said the contract to hire Allen was “sprung” on the council and that the hiring procedure needed to be more “open and transparent.” He said with local control now returned to the city, “we are looking for a new set of priorities.”
Majewski defended the hiring, saying Allen has expertise in a couple of city-related issues, such as establishing guidelines to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate here and putting a closure to the city’s decades-old housing discrimination lawsuit.
The resolution to hire Allen passed with Karpinski and Perrotta being the only councilmembers who voted in opposition.
Allen is being paid $125 an hour and received a three-year contract. Details of the contract are still being worked out, said Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer.