Caroline Kennedy from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) outlined some of the qualities and attributes listed by the Menominee City Council in the search for a new city manager. The MML is assisting the city in developing criteria for the position as well as overseeing the application process. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
Caroline Kennedy from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) outlined some of the qualities and attributes listed by the Menominee City Council in the search for a new city manager. The MML is assisting the city in developing criteria for the position as well as overseeing the application process. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
MENOMINEE - With the search for an interim manager behind them, the city of Menominee is now focused on finding a full-time manager to take the helm. The mayor and council met Wednesday with a representative from the Michigan Municipal League (MML). Caroline Kennedy is assisting the city with developing a list of qualities and qualifications along with a job description.

"We need somebody who is a team builder, somebody who has enough experience where they're not climbing a learning curve that can provide some cohesiveness and wants to be part of this community," said Mayor Jean Stegeman.

Council members discussed the importance of finding someone who is familiar with Michigan laws, communicates well with elected officials and understands and follows the city charter. The ad which was placed during the last search has many criteria the council still wants in a manager, but Council Member Bill Plemel said loosening up the narrow window of traits, accomplishments and abilities would open the door to more candidates who could excel in key areas.

"I think what you may do is broaden so we get a large enough pool of people," he said. "If you eliminate alternatives in the application process, you're shutting down the pool."

Current City Manager Michael Cramer announced his resignation last month to take a similar post in Carolina Beach, N.C. His last day on the job will be Wednesday.

Monday, the council interviewed two prospective candidates for the interim position and selected Donald Beavers of Mackinaw City, Mich. He's expected to start in a couple weeks.

Members of the city's Judicial and Legislative/Personnel and Labor Committee will meet Monday to make a recommendation on a job description which will be posted on the MML website and advertised locally.

According to Kennedy, the ad will likely run through Nov. 8 or 10. After that, the consultants will spend a couple of weeks going through the applications to find those that meet the criteria set by the city.

Once that's accomplished and the field is narrowed, the city will receive a list of prospective candidates to interview. The interviews will likely take place around Thanksgiving week with a possible second round of interviews in mid to late December.

One fly in the ointment is that the city is looking at a November election which will ultimately end up putting two new council members into play.

Al Walker did not seek re-election in Ward 3 and Mark Jasper recently announced he would be stepping down at the end of his term in Ward 1. However, Jasper's decision did not come in time to keep his name off the ballot. Stegeman said the best possible scenario would be for someone to stage a successful write-in campaign.

The mayor and council agreed that having the current and new members make the selection for the manager would be in the best interest of the city.

"I would like us to have all the councilmen in place when we vote on the new city manager so that everyone feels that they had a voice and a part of it in order to promote a team effort on the council as well," said Stegeman. "If all the councilmen have an opportunity to vote, there will never be a doubt that you didn't have your voice heard."

The exact timetable for conducting interviews and voting is still fluid. It's possible the interviews could be conducted in December with a decision in January. That could mean a new manager would likely be in place in late February or early March.

The two candidates for Ward 3, Don Hudon and Josh Jones, were invited to Wednesday's meeting with the MML, however, both men were out of town.