MENOMINEE — Come July 22, city attorney Rob Jamo will no longer be the city attorney for Menominee. During Thursday’s Judicial and Legislative/Personnel and Labor Committee meeting, City Manager Tony Graff gave an update on what options the city has to fill this position after Jamo leaves, as well as an update to the search for a new city engineer, a position that has been open since Valerie Mellon retired in January.

Graff presented the committee with an engagement letter to Mouw & Celello PC, a law firm based in Iron Mountain. “What I’m recommending is to at least have a company we can use,” he said, “This isn’t a contract, just an engagement letter. They’re not going to be exclusive; they’ve worked for Iron Mountain and Norway, they have multiple disciplines, but they are an hour away, depending on how the crow flies,” he said.

“This is going to get expensive very fast,” said Mayor Jean Stegeman.

“Not really,” Graff said, “it’s only going to be based on our need.”

Stegeman asked if this firm would be prosecuting civil infractions. Graff said this would be something that needs further discussion, as right now civil infractions are being taken care of at the prosecuting attorney’s office. He said understanding the role of the city attorney is going to be a key part of the discussion.

“There’s several attorney firms in town, both towns,” said councilmember Bill Plemel. “Did you offer the same sort of situation to them? It just seems odd to me that we have to go 72 miles away to find somebody.”

Graff said, “I talked to people in the firms that had an interest, but they don’t do municipal work. At this point I’m looking to do something transitional. Five weeks (notice) isn’t enough time to hire professional services like an attorney, so I went to a firm that has experience. They’re very aware of how this type of operation works.”

He said there would be a representative from the firm coming to give a presentation to the city council at the 6 p.m. July 15 meeting.

Graff said that the announcement for the city engineer/public works director position is currently posted on Michigan Works, and an ad has been put into the Marquette Mining Journal. “In talking to engineering firms, technical professionals, especially in the U.P., look at that paper (more frequently),” he said. According to administrative secretary Susan Johnson, the Journal ran about three or four inserts and posted an ad for the job on their website for seven days, which by Graff’s estimation cost about $600.

So far he hasn’t gotten any serious responses yet. “The couple I did have called, and I said five to seven years of engineering experience. One gentleman had less, but I told him, ‘If you’ve got experience that was similar, we might be able to consider.’ I called him back and he said he wasn’t interested,” Graff said.

In talking to other city managers, Graff said there seems to be a trend for professional engineers looking to move to places like the U.P., so he said the ads would go for another round to see what kind of applications they get. He said the closing day for the ads on Michigan Works is Aug. 8.