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Posted on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

Ann Arbor looking for new administrator who can deal with labor unions, citizens and university officials

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor is looking for a new city administrator who knows how to communicate not only with city staff and council, but also labor unions, university officials and the community at large.

The city especially is looking for an administrator with successful involvement in an "aggressive collective bargaining environment," according to a job description posted on the city's website.


City Administrator Roger Fraser is retiring on Friday. The city is searching for his replacement now.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Because Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and partners with the university on certain initiatives, the city wants an administrator with experience with a major university and developing positive working relationships with senior university administrators.

Ann Arbor's search for a new city administrator continues next Tuesday with two stakeholder meetings where city officials want to hear from citizens and the business community.

City Administrator Roger Fraser is retiring on Friday to take a job as deputy state treasurer. Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, will step in as interim city administrator until the city can find someone to permanently fill the position.

The stakeholder meetings are scheduled to take place inside the lower level conference room at the county administration building at 200 N. Main St. The first meeting at 6 p.m. is for the business community. The second meeting at 7 p.m. is for residents.

The meetings are intended to provide an opportunity for feedback regarding the new city administrator’s role and responsibilities.

Onsite public interviews with selected candidates are expected to take place in June. Specific dates will be announced on the city’s website at

The city recently began advertising the position and is accepting applications from both internal and external candidates.

According to the job description, the city is looking for someone with a bachelor's degree in public or business administration or related field, though a master's degree is preferred.

Candidates must have experience as a city administrator or manager in a city with a population of more than 50,000 or as county administrator in an urban county.

The job description also states candidates must have experience in a "multi-cultural environment where issues are openly debated" and in positions that required active community contact and open communications between citizens, council and staff.

Another stated requirement is "the physical ability to walk, stand, stoop, bend, reach, pull, push, lift, finger, feel, grasp, talk, see, hear and perform repetitive motions."

The city's search committee is recommending a salary range of $145,000 to $150,000. Fraser currently makes a base salary of $145,354, but his total income from the city has pushed nearly $160,000 in recent years due to bonuses awarded by council.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 6:56 a.m.

The next adminstrator will need to forge new relationships with the University community. For too long there has been a adversarial component betweeen the city and the UM. Partly due to the city's view that the UM should be doing more. Still, the UM is also bind by state law when it comes to taxes, which, seems to irked the beejeezus out of the city. This has to stop. The UM's primary responsibility is to educated their students, so requesting the UM to tap their endowments to help the city poorly spent on unessential items ($1M fountains for example), or upkeeping public bridges is not the best starting point for the city. Shared services would be a helpful beginning, like police and fire services, or even snow plowing. Developing partnerships to solve common issues should be the new jump off point, not the, seemingly, always holding out its hand and begging since you have more marbles than me. This should one of the main points the council should consider while searching. A consensus builder and not the hawk.


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

U of M has the third largest endowment in the nation. $6.7 billion last year. They reinvest more profit from it than the total contribution by the State. Un-bind them from the restrictive laws and let them be private.


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

And, any internal applicants must live in the CITY. External applicants have some time to move here. Crawford has done a great job, but doesn't he live in Lansing or someplace an hour away from town? He seems very professional, but how could he do the job and live so far away?


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 6:48 a.m.

Or Public Services Administrator, Sue McCormick who does live in Lansing.


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 6:30 a.m.

Or Public Services Administrator Sue McCormick who live in Lansing


Thu, Apr 28, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

The question here is whether a majority of city council wants a new administrator who will work WITH city employees, unions, and citizens… or whether they will ultimately vote to continue their 'tradition' of hiring top administrators who appear to have the will & the skill to rule through manipulation.


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Funny the headline doesn't mention dealing with a glut of administrators that taxpayers do not need.


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Another stated requirement is "the physical ability to walk, stand, stoop, bend, reach, pull, push, lift, finger, feel, grasp, talk, see, hear and perform repetitive motions." How can that be compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act? For example, why would someone who is in a wheelchair not be able to do this job? Why would a deaf person not be able to do this job with the assistance of an interpreter? It doesn't seem that these physical requirements are central to performing the job of City Administrator.


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

I'll take it. Everyone (unions, citizens, university) must understand that the city must live within its means. Protect the city, offer necessary services, and the rest if fluff.


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

If the city CFO is stepping in to be the City Admin Mgr...who will fulfil the CFO's duties? If no one, then why hire 2 people to do the job that one person will be doing? Is the position Fraser is taking an unpaid volunteer position? If not, he's not retiring but moving on to another job. But I guess if he says he's retiring, he then gets to collect a pension for a pretty penny after not even having 10 years [?] on the job....and then when he's done working for the State will he also be entitled to a pension from that position?


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

I liked the way Roger dealt with unions. Practical, real, and told it like it was, not the way they thought it should be.


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

It's quite easy . . . .just offer a bazillion dollars . . . .like for the new school superintendent!