Will past haunt new city manager?

Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag has had a colorful history in public office.

By Charles Sercombe

Newly-appointed Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag comes with some baggage.

However, in the arena of politics, that’s not unusual.

Tertzag was handed an employment contract this week by the city council. He will received $6,750 a month for his services plus health insurance.

Before coming here, Tertzag served on the Allen Park City Council. His tenure on Allen Park Council was not without controversy.

Tertzag and others on the council OK’d a $31 million investment into a film studio – without voter-approval — when Michigan was riding high on scoring big-time movie productions because of the state’s generous tax breaks.

The film studio turned into a huge flop, and now Allen Park is in the midst of a financial crisis that will likely lead to the state appointing an emergency financial manager.

Tertzag and others who voted for the film studio investment were given the derisive moniker of the “Magnificent Seven.”

While serving on Allen Park Council, Tertzag accepted the position of city administrator for the downriver community of Woodhaven. A city administrator is the equivalent of a city manager.

He kept both positions, saying there was nothing in either city’s charters preventing it.

Later, though, he abruptly resigned from the Allen Park Council.

It’s not clear what happened in Woodhaven, but about a year-and-a-half into the job, Tertzag was put on paid leave, and then he agreed to resign.

News reports then said there was no police investigation. When asked by The Review to comment on his departure from Woodhaven, Tertzag would only say it was a mutual decision.

“It was time for me to move on,” he told The Review.

As it turns out, Tertzag can’t really say much more, according to the terms of a separation agreement he signed with the City of Woodhaven.

The Review received a copy of the agreement after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

According the agreement, both city officials and Tertzag “agree to refrain from making any public or private statements … that are critical, derogatory or which may tend to injure the reputation of the other party …”

The agreement gives just a hint of what may have been the circumstances of his leaving:

“The intent and purpose of the General Release and Separation Agreement is to settle and resolve various issues between each of the respective parties concerning the employee’s employment and separation.”

Woodhaven also promised to give a “neutral” letter of reference to prospective employers.

So what were some of the issues Tertzag went through?

According to some of the comments made to news reports of Tertzag’s resignation, there was controversy over city employee layoffs, a change in health insurance and spending money on the mayor’s memorial football field while laying off Woodhaven city employees.

Tertzag’s contract with Hamtramck is open-ended until a permanent city manager is hired. The city council agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to hold further discussion of when to look for a city manager until the next regular council meeting.

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