MENOMINEE - The city of Menominee is one signature away from welcoming a new full-time city manager. The council met in special session Thursday night where on a 6-1 vote they agreed to hire Ted Andrzejewski of Eastlake, Ohio. Council member Mark Erickson was the lone dissenting vote. Council Member Arnie Organ was excused from the meeting and First Ward Council Member Mark Jasper tendered his resignation prior to the meeting.
"I'm pleased that this is over and grateful that the council came together and could reach an almost unanimous decision," said Mayor Jean Stegeman. "I think that is going to help Mr. Andrzejewski succeed."
Members of the Judicial/Legislative and Personnel/Labor Committee met prior to the council meeting where they ironed out specifics of the proposed contract. Between the time that meeting ended and the council meeting started, Andrzejewski was contacted by phone where he verbally agreed to the position, salary and benefits. Barring anything unforeseen, the new manager will be in place Feb. 24. He will have a 120 day probationary period, of which the during the first 60 days he will be able to tap the resources of current interim Manager Don Beavers.
After former City Manager Michael Cramer resigned in September, the city began a search for a new leader. With the help of the Michigan Municipal League (MML), 27 applications came in. The MML whittled the field down and council members were left with about eight candidates, that number was then reduced to four. By the day of the interviews, three of the four had dropped out of the running for various reasons, leaving only Andrzejewski.
Looking back, Stegeman said the fact the other candidates dropped out was no fault of Andrzejewski. She said he brought experience to the table and offered reasonable, sensible answers for every question asked during the interview process.
"We would not have selected him if we didn't already feel he was a good candidate for the position. We did not hire him because he was the only candidate," Stegeman stressed. "I want the citizens of Menominee to understand that this was not a case of, 'well, this is the only guy here, I guess we'll hire him.' That is not the case. This man has nine years of experience in city management. That is nine more years than the last two city managers had."
Under terms of the proposed agreement, Andrzejewski will earn a base salary of $70,000. Once his probation period is over the amount will increase to $74,000 per year. He will then be eligible for salary increases each July 1 beginning in 2015, provided he has a satisfactory performance review by council.
Other benefits include three weeks of paid vacation per year, five days paid sick leave and three paid personal days. He will receive a monthly auto allowance of $300, moving and relocation expenses of up to $8,000 and a pension plan with six years vesting, As a condition of employment, he must also become a city resident within six months.
As to Jasper's resignation, Stegeman said she was not offered an explanation. He did notify the council in September of last year that he would not be able to fulfill his obligations if elected in November and would not take the oath of office. However, he did end up taking the oath after winning the election. At the time Jasper said he had an opportunity to purchase a home out of the city. There's no word yet on how the position will be filled.