Stanton aims for manager interviews within 30 days

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:22 am on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

STANTON — The search is on for a new city manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of both the city of Stanton and the village of Lakeview.

James Freed, who previously held those positions, left recently to take a job in Port Huron.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Stanton City Commission discussed options for finding a new manager with attorney Jeffrey V.H. Sluggett, of Grand Rapids-based law firm Bloom, Sluggett, Morgan. The commission had tasked Sluggett with looking into various hiring options.

Sluggett noted the city had previously enjoyed a satisfactory working relationship with Freed, who was “shared” between Stanton and Lakeview, where he also served as manager. Sluggett suggested the city try to recreate that arrangement with a new candidate.

He also suggested the commission post the position with the Michigan Municipal League (MML), The Daily News and other media outlets.

“You’re under no legal obligation to post (the position),” Sluggett said. “If you already had a candidate in mind, you could go into negotiations right away.”

Mayor Monica Tissue-Daws indicated that, currently, the city has no candidate waiting in the wings and that she hoped to get as many viable possibilities as possible lined up before beginning the interview process. She said she hopes that — with the help of Lakeview’ Mayor Ed Winter — the interviews could begin as soon as a month from now.

Until then, Sluggett said, the duties that would otherwise be handled by the city manager would go to Tissue-Daws.

Daws added she has previously met with Winter and the Lakeview Village Council is in favor of entering into another shared manager arrangement. She also noted that Lakeview has in the past been very successful when it comes to finding high-caliber managers.

Commissioner John Kroneck suggested it might well take more than a month to gather enough candidates, much less interview them all. Kroneck estimated the time might actually wind up being closer to three months.

“No, we’re really hoping to start interviews within one month,” Tissue-Daws replied.

In what will likely come as good news for Stanton residents, the city’s fire department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating has recently been upgraded from a 7 to a 5. According to Commissioner Ken Burris, who has been instrumental in implementing the changes responsible for the upgrade, this can positively impact the insurance rates of homeowners within the city.

Addressing the crowd gathered at Tuesday’s meeting, Burris said, “This will affect all homeowners in Stanton. You need to check with your insurance companies to see if they’ll go along with it. It can save you money on house insurance. If they won’t go along with it, you should start looking around for another provider.”

The savings, Burris added, can be significant.

The new rating is based on improvements in three areas: how well local 911 operators field incoming calls, how fast fire fighters respond and how available water is in a given area.

In other business, the commission approved a bid from K&R Excavating to do some needed gravel and leveling work at the city’s sewer pond and around the water tower. Cost of the project is capped at $40,000.

Finally, the commission granted a request from the Montcalm Technical Rescue Team to use the city’s water tower for training purposes, provided the group provide their own insurance and sign a waiver absolving the city of any liability should an accident occur.

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