HOWARD CITY — This village may soon have a full-time manager again for the first time in six years.
The Howard City Village Council during a special 24-minute meeting Wednesday night unanimously agreed to advertise for a full-time village manager after current Village Manager Randy Heckman announced his resignation Monday due to overwhelming stress in balancing that job with his other businesses — Heckman Funeral Home and Heckman Lawn Care & Snowplowing. He is also fire chief of the Howard City Fire Department.
“Just in the last day and a half, the outpouring of support I had from email and text messages, I guess I didn’t know how many good friends I had out there who said I was doing a good job,” Heckman said. “I want to thank everyone, I appreciate that.”
Heckman will stay on as manager until the position is filled. He will also remain in his elected capacity as village president.
All council members agreed the village should hire a full-time manager, which Howard City hasn’t had since Mark Rambo left in 2011 to take another job. The village manager is also the zoning administrator and works with the Downtown Development Authority, does grant and ordinance research, helps oversee village festivals and music in the park and communicates with the Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce and local townships, among other responsibilities.
“Randy’s done really well, but I’m sure there are more grants out there that we could get for things,” Councilwoman Cheryl Smith said. “Grants are very time-consuming. I think a full-time person would be good.”
“We expect them to be involved in different things in the community and that’s going to take a full-time person,” agreed Councilwoman Janice Williams.
The manager job will be advertised starting next week in local newspapers and through the Michigan Municipal League. After about 30 days, a committee will review applicants and narrow the field down to several finalists, who will then be interviewed by the Village Council.
Council members agreed the pay would be based on qualifications and would be competitive with neighboring communities.
Lakeview Village Manager Shay Gallagher was recently hired full-time at a starting salary of $48,500.