By Charles Sercombe
It’s been about a month since city officials interviewed two finalists for the city manager job.
It’s now up to Emergency Manager Cathy Square to decide who will become Hamtramck’s next city manager.
Square returned to work this week after taking two weeks off. She initially told The Review that she would make the appointment when she got back. As it turns out, Square said she is not ready to make that decision.
Square declined to go into details nor would she say when the appointment will be made.
“The process still has to play out,” Square said. “I’m hoping it will be soon.”
The two candidates are D. Wayne O’Neal, currently the city manager of Eastpointe, and Steven Aynes, who had been city manager for Ecorse.
Square has a month-and-a-half left in her employment contract with the state to be Hamtramck’s EM. Square has said she needs to begin transitioning the city back to local control in that time, as well as get a host of other things done.
She also has to fill the positions of city assessor and treasurer.
Also on the things to do list is secure an emergency loan from the state. Square is seeking $2 million to get the city up to speed on pension payments. If the loan does not come through by the end of June, when Square is scheduled to leave, it’s likely that she will have to stay on.
State law requires an emergency manager be on hand when the loan is made, Square said.
“I can’t exit until I finish,” Square said. “I’m almost there. Things are going very well.”
One of the obstacles in getting the loan, ironically, is that the city is no longer in a deficit, which is a requirement to getting a loan.
Square said the city actually does have a financial obligation hanging over its head — $2 million due to the city’s pension fund. Technically, Square said, that puts the city in a deficit.
What Square might have to wait for is for state legislators to adjust the requirements for issuing an emergency loan. But waiting for that to happen could take time.
“Government doesn’t move too fast,” Square said.