City council feud erupts over city manager appointment

Kathy Angerer

Kathy Angerer



Update: A special city council meeting was held Friday evening (Aug. 31) to appoint Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer as the new city manager. Mayor Karen Majewski was expected to make the meeting, and she has said she is in favor of the appointment.)

By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck almost had a new city manager this week.
But the vote to hire Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer got tangled up in the one thing that is constant in this city: Politics.
It appears Councilmembers Anam Miah, Abu Musa, Saad Almasmari and Fadel Al-Marsoumi are in favor of hiring Angerer.
But Councilmembers Ian Perrotta and Andrea Karpinski are opposed and are accusing them of foul play.
That’s because Hamtramck voters just agreed to a city charter revision on who can qualify for the job of city manager. The requirements were greatly loosened.
A majority of the council agreed last February to allow voters to decide on the charter revision. The thinking then was it would allow the city to widen the pool of candidates who would otherwise be shut out from consideration because they did not meet the job requirements.
It was thought that a number of qualified candidates were disqualified in the city’s last search for a city manager because they didn’t have the exact title or required experience, but would have been a good fit. Out of a field of nearly 40 only three met the qualifications, and out of that group only one candidate was recommended by the city search firm to be interviewed.
That candidate was turned down.
Angerer has been the acting city manager for the past year and two months, replacing the previous city manager who was not rehired after her employment contract expired.
Perrotta wrote on his Facebook page that he was “disgusted” that the bare majority of councilmembers decided to forego the search and instead hire Angerer.
“In February it was decided by a majority of council that the search for a full time city manager would be suspended so the City Charter requirements could be amended in order to widen the net of potential applicants,” Perrotta said.
“Now, the very same colleagues who argued that we need to have a wider search appear to be attempting to circumvent a new search entirely. This is because a new search will undoubtedly provide several extremely qualified candidates, effectively taking their preferred candidate out of the running.”
At Tuesday’s council meeting a resolution to hire Angerer and have the city attorney draw up a three-year contract was on the agenda.
But before that vote could happen, Councilmembers Perrotta and Karpinski walked out, which resulted in a loss of a quorum – or enough present councilmembers – to hold a vote.
Councilmember Almasmari was absent and so was Mayor Karen Majewski, who would have also been eligible to vote on the matter.
Councilmember Miah, who was chairing the meeting in Majewski’s absence, defended the resolution. He said Angerer has proven that she can do the job over the past year.
“Even if we find a good candidate and hire them, it will take a year for them to get up to speed on city matters,” Miah told The Review. “Why lose the momentum?”
Councilmember Al-Marsoumi, who presented the resolution, agreed.
“Her past government experience exceeds the charter’s requirements. She’s been doing a good job,” Al-Marsoumi told The Review.
As for Mayor Majewski, she too told The Review that a search for a city manager would slow down progress happening in the city.
“What I value is continuing that progress and stability,” Majewski said.
Councilmember Perrotta told The Review he doesn’t think hiring a city manager will slow anything down.
“Conducting a search for a city manager does not have to disrupt progress in this city, and adding capacity by hiring a qualified and experienced city manager while keeping Ms. Angerer on staff could only improve things,” Perrotta said.
It is expected that the resolution to hire Angerer will appear again at the next city council meeting, Sept. 11, which is when it’s also likely that the mayor and Councilmember Almasmari will be present.


Aug. 31, 2018

4 Responses to City council feud erupts over city manager appointment

  1. John Dory

    September 1, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    The appointment of Kathy Angerer as City Manager has its positive and negative aspects.

    On the bright side, the level of tensions between City Council and the Katrina Powell administration have not been present since Angerer has assumed the office and title of Acting City Manager -they have largely abated by virtually all observer accounts.

    Also, the Arab-American News has pointed out in an article that the “Muslim majority”had entrusted its future to Angerer – a non-Muslim – when it had appointed her as Acting City Manager in 2017 after Powell’s departure – thus proving that City Council could encourage working political relationships with non- Muslim city officials.

    Further, Ms. Angerer has exhibited political courage by recommending settlements to City Council in divisive civil rights litigation that has been festering for years in the court system. The Sam’s Tire and Shaya cases had generated large amounts of attorney fees prior to their respective resolutions this year.

    On the negative side, the appointment of Ms. Angerer as City Manager is being opposed by Councilperson Ian Perrotta – who has voiced legitimate concerns that the City Council is “jumping the gun” by appointing Angerer before completing an exhaustive and comprehensive list of candidates that can be evaluated and decided upon. Perrotta’s concerns in these regards are well-taken and, given the controversial tenures of Erik Tungate and Kyle Tertzag, perhaps the better course of action would have been to complete a comprehensive search for the best candidate for the City Manager position.

  2. Concerned

    September 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    What’s going on with this newspaper, we have to read other newspapers to get Hamtramck’s news.

  3. csercombe

    September 5, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    just to let you know “concerned,” we have an editorial staff of one — me. I don’t have the time or resources to check daily lawsuit filings in any of the courts, which the two dailies have. And,as the story noted, the city has not yet been served.
    Also, why do you not use your actual name when posting? Why hide behind a disguise?

  4. Roadman

    September 6, 2018 at 1:31 am


    Thanks for the update!

    The other story which has sent shock waves through the corridors of power in City Hall is the criminal charges brought against a former Hamtramck police officer for an alleged shooting and assault of a motorist stopped in 2014 in Hamtramck.

    Even after Ryan McInerney resigned from the force after this incident, the City of Hamtramck paid for his legal defense in a federal civil rights suit brought by Jibreel Montavo. No less than five attorneys appeared on McInerney’s behalf in U.S. District Court in Detroit, including then-City Attorney John Clark, J. Travis Mihelick, Anthony Chubb, Gus Morris and Robert Raiti. Was the providing of a legal defense to McInerney required by the collective bargaining agreement between the City of Hamtramck and the police officer’s association representing local officers?

    I am sure “Chip” is working hard to get an in-depth story out about these two court cases by this Friday’s edition.

    The good news about the most recent civil rights suit by lawyer Steve Haney is that he named Gasper Fiore as a co-defendant – so ole Gasper may be chipping in any future settlement that the City of Hamtramck may enter into.

    Does anyone know if Michael Stout is still working for the Hamtramck Police Department?

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