LAKEVIEW — It’s down to the final two candidates in the search for a new manager for the village of Lakeview and city of Stanton. When selected, the new manager will serve both communities, allotting 20 hours per week to each.
At Monday evening’s regular meeting of the Lakeview Village Council, both candidates were interviewed by council members, some of whom also served on the search committee.
The two candidates — Jacob Eckholm of Muskegon and Frank Goodroe of Huntington Woods — fielded questions from council members and spoke briefly on why they felt uniquely suited to the position.
Eckholm, who currently is regional manager of TrueNorth Community Services in Fremont, was interviewed first.
Eckholm, 24, recently earned his master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley State University. Although his work experience in the public arena is somewhat limited, his employment in the nonprofit sector has prepared him for the manager’s post, he said.
“I’m really very interested in finding a community I can engage with and get embedded in and get really involved in,” Eckholm said. “I have a penchant for finding outside resources and I really believe in community involvement. I can tell this (Lakeview) is the kind of community I’d be valuable in.”
Eckholm said he would spend his first three months on the job getting to know the community intimately and trying to meet the residents who rely on village services.
“The first 90 days are very important,” he said.
According to Eckholm, his management style relies heavily on collaborative efforts between various municipal departments. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to maintaining a steady flow of good ideas, he said.
Councilwoman Kathy Lobert asked for areas in which the candidate felt he could stand to improve.
“What would your current boss say your greatest weaknesses are?” she asked.
“Well, I sometimes get a little over-enthusiastic getting the ball rolling,” Eckholm replied. “I can be a little over-ambitious sometimes. I’ve tried to work on that.”
Eckholm added that implementing current technology to get work done is one of his greatest strengths. He is familiar with a variety of software and hardware platforms and is an advocate of programs that maintain up to the minute records for various village and city departments.
Serving as a city manager, he said, has long been his primary goal.
“I grew up having a lot of civic pride,” Eckholm said. “Trying to restore the pride in wherever you live is something I’m passionate about. People should be proud of where they come from. We should create an environment where people want to stay here.”
Following Eckholm’s interview, council members posed similar questions to Goodroe, who currently serves as administrator of Oak Park District Court.
Goodroe, 60, has a long history in local governments, having been elected at age 19 to the Mount Morris Board of Education. He has also served stints as mayor of that same municipality and worked in various positions for Genessee and Shiawassee counties.
Goodroe noted he had a “good feeling” about the communities of Lakeview and Stanton when he visited for his first interview earlier this month.
“I wouldn’t have appeared for a second interview had I not had good feelings,” he said. “I would very much enjoy being your village manager and city manager in Stanton. You have a wonderful community here.”
If selected for the post, Goodroe said he planned to “walk as much of the village” as possible, introducing himself to business owners and familiarize himself with the community at large. He also intends to get acquainted with the village’s infrastructure needs “from an engineering perspective.”
Goodroe said he prides himself on being able to find grant money for community projects.
“I consider grants part of the begging process and I think I’m pretty seasoned at it,” he said. “I want to make sure each community gets its fair share and then some.”
He refers to his management style as “very hands-on” and noted he likes to be directly involved in all aspects of running the village. Attention to detail is one of his greatest strengths, he added.
Goodroe admitted he tends to be “overly calm” at times and “a little too quiet.” Overall, however, he considers his communications skills above average.
If selected for the position, Goodroe noted he would have to consider carefully whether to reside in Lakeview or Stanton. Both communities, he said, have much to offer.
“It’s something I would have to wrestle with,” he said. “I’m very impressed with this community (Lakeview). You have a lot of resources other communities do not have. And it seems pretty harmonious here. I think I would feel very comfortable working here.”
Both candidates will be interviewed a final time at tonight’s Stanton’s City Commission meeting. Soon thereafter, representatives from Lakeview’s council and Stanton’s commission will confer and select a new manager.