We’re going to be upfront.
We do not wish to harp on what we think is a wrongheaded decision in hiring a person whose expertise is economic development to take the place of Hamtramck’s city manager.
Erik Tungate, who has worked for a variety of government entities, including Hamtramck, in economic development, was recently hired as Hamtramck’s Acting City Manager in the wake of the firing of City Manager Bill Cooper.
We believe the abrupt firing of Cooper and hiring of Tungate was reckless to say the least.
But Tungate is here, and we all have to move on. Fortunately, the city council, except for Councilmember Tom Jankowski, agreed this week to advertise for a permanent city manager to take over.
While that is a step in the right direction, we prefer that the city seek an interim city manager from a list of candidates that the Michigan Municipal League has available.
We still believe there is no valid reason why Hamtramck doesn’t deserve a city manager who is actually experienced to run this city takes while the city council takes its time to search for permanent one.
But again, it’s important to move on.
Yet having said that, the council did something totally inexplicable this week, and it was certainly a slap in the face of Tungate.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, there was a contract on the table to hire Tungate. The contract spelled out Tungate’s salary and terms of employment.
Well, you’d think those who supported hiring Tungate in the first place would make a resolution to vote on the contract.
Here’s where the odd thing happened. Not one councilmember offered a motion of support, which means the proposal died right there, well at least for the moment.
So, that left us wondering, what does this mean for Tungate? His own supporters refused to act on a contract to hire him after they voted to hire him just a week ago.
Does this mean Tungate is now working for free?
We asked Finance Director Nevrus Nazarko, and he said that he was also baffled by the lack of action.
This strange turn of events also made us wonder if Hamtramck’s elected government is falling apart, saying one thing, and then turning around and sabotaging the action they took.
This is no time for folly.
Hamtramck is facing payless paydays unless a state loan comes through.
And if the city goes broke, it’s certain that state officials will step in and appoint an emergency financial manager.
There is too much turmoil in city hall right now, and our elected leaders are not helping matters with their scattershot leadership.
At press time, it was rumored that the city council will hold a special meeting on Friday to consider an employment contract for Tungate and also, possibly, rehire City Attorney James Allen, who was fired by former City Manager Bill Cooper.
Stay tuned, folks, for the never-ending rollercoaster ride of city government.