Ann Arbor City Council to begin search for new city administrator to replace Roger Fraser
The Ann Arbor City Council voted 10-0 tonight with one member absent to establish a Council Search Committee to recruit a new city administrator.
The charge of the committee is to place on the April 19 council agenda a recommendation for an interim city administrator and to present a plan for the selection process for a permanent city administrator. Internal and external candidates will be considered.
With confirmation from the council, Mayor John Hieftje appointed four council members and himself to the search committee.
The committee will be chaired by Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward. Other council members appointed to the committee include Tony Derezinski, D-2nd Ward; Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward; and Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
City Administrator Roger Fraser is leaving the city at the end of next month to take a job in the state treasurer's office. He has been the city's administrator since 2002.
The City Council, which is in charge of hiring and firing the city administrator, received a letter of resignation from Fraser on March 2.
Hieftje said the committee was chosen not based on seniority, but rather by his own efforts to try to get a good mix of council members with various backgrounds and experience.
"I come with a lot of baggage to this committee," Derezinski said, "because I used to be involved in superintendent searches for schools, including here in Ann Arbor a couple of times, and the process is a unique dynamic and one that is incredibly important."
Whether the city hires a search firm is one of the decisions the council must make. Derezinski said he'll be encouraging the council to consider tapping some outside expertise.
"I think we definitely have to consider that as part of this process," he said. "And I think also as Sandi Smith mentioned there has to be full robust discussion in terms of the process by the full council and that's what I think the mayor certainly has mentioned he intends to have."
Hieftje said questions such as what salary range will be advertised are yet to be decided, but he sees no reason to vary much from the current level. Fraser currently receives a base salary of more than $145,000. He'll make $131,000 in his new position.
"We'll be considering all those questions," Hieftje said. "That salary, if you look at comparative cities, Mr. Fraser's salary is not on the high range. I think it's probably on the lower end, but I don't see any reason going into this why we would change that."
Hieftje said it's his intention to make the search process a quick one. He said he'd like to have a new city administrator hired by the end of summer, if not mid-summer.
"I don't see us taking too long with this," he said. "We'll be working with the city HR department, and we'll be, I'm sure, talking to other people like the Michigan Municipal League."
Hieftje said he's not sure the city needs to hire a search firm.
"I think that we can do this without hiring a search firm," he said. "I'd like to save the money, for one thing, and I think we can do just as good a job by using other resources. But there are other members of the committee that might have another opinion and I'm happy to discuss it."
Among the most likely internal choices for the city administrator position would be Sumedh Bahl, community services area administrator; Sue McCormick, public services area administrator; and Tom Crawford, chief financial officer. There's been no confirmation yet that any of them are even interested in the position, though.
According to the city ordinance that establishes pension benefits for city employees, the annual pension benefit level for all nonunion employees is equal to the final average compensation times 2.5 percent times the number of years of service. As a person qualified for full retirement, Fraser also will be able to have his medical care covered by the city in retirement.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.