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Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Former Ann Arbor administrator Roger Fraser seeks city manager position in Kalamazoo

By Ryan J. Stanton

Former Ann Arbor City Administrator Roger Fraser is one of five finalists competing for the Kalamazoo city manager position, MLive reported.

Interviews with Fraser and other candidates were scheduled to start at noon Tuesday. Fraser is touting his experience with budget struggles in Ann Arbor as he makes his case for why he's the best person to lead Kalamazoo city government through a time of transition and downsizing.


Roger Fraser explains the city of Ann Arbor's "buckets of money" during a town hall meeting in 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"I think I'm very good at getting people to come together around an idea. I think my role as a coach and as a facilitator gets what council and community wants done," Fraser told MLive.

Fraser was Ann Arbor's city administrator for nine years before leaving in 2011 to take a job as the state of Michigan's deputy state treasurer for local government services.

He put on his resume that, while in Ann Arbor, he converted a "marginally dysfunctional, highly disaggregated, fiscally unsound" city government into a "high-performing, fiscally responsible, culturally healthy public service organization."

He pointed out that conversion involved completely reorganizing city government, eliminating all department head positions, and consolidating 14 operating departments into four "service areas." Meanwhile, he said, the city's full-time employee count dropped from about 1,004 to 730.

Fraser's resume also mentions his role in overseeing the construction of a new maintenance facility for field operations and a new police-courts building next to Ann Arbor's city hall.

While his base salary was $145,355, Fraser made more than $156,400 a year on average during his three highest-paid consecutive years of service as Ann Arbor's city administrator, records show. He collected $59,470 in severance pay when he retired and now has a pension worth $38,061 a year.

Fraser spoke with in February 2012 about his new role in overseeing the state's controversial emergency manager program.

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 email newsletters.



Wed, May 22, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

This guy was here for 9 years and collects a pension worth more than many people's annual salary AND walks off with an additional 60k? Seriously? Words are failing me ...


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

Mike, As much as I believe Roger is claiming some outrageous works of wonder; did you ever explain the truth behind you leaving. Were you such a decent person?

mike gatti

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

He made Ann Arbor so nice that it is a great place to live. He never lived here but he made it a nice place just ask him. Before he came it was Hell. Afterward, the food tasted better, the air was cleaner, there was music and wonderful roses...Wonder if he can do the same for Kalamazoo while living in Portage or some other place that is not quite so well Kalamazooy or Ann Arbory.

Bertha Venation

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

There were bells.... on the hill.... but I never heard them ringing..... Yes, I never heard them at all...... 'til there waaaassss youuuuuuuuu.


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

A little rest and back to earning another pension on the taxpayers dime; life is good, more taxes please..............

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

Fraser at his interview today:


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

He put on his resume that, while in Ann Arbor, he converted a "marginally dysfunctional, highly disaggregated, fiscally unsound" city government into a "high-performing, fiscally responsible, culturally healthy public service organization." Ann Arbor is hardly a high-performing, fiscally responsible, culturally healthy public service organization. Nothing like some exaggeration on a resume..... And the Google thing.....he may have brought them to AA with tax incentives and breaks, but where are the 200 jobs that Google promised to bring to AA? Maybe a handful at best. The rest are elsewhere in MI. How about his road maintenance/snow removal track record? Grim, at best, under his watch and it's not any better now.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Is anyone in Kalamazoo asking why his contract with the Treasury Department wasn't renewed? Those are practically automatic. Maybe he was as well liked there as he was in Ann Arbor. Rumor is that he created a $2 million + fiscal stability department from scratch that is inferior in nearly every way to the people he already had. That would be an interesting story. Does Jeff Hadley like his job? Does he know Fraser might try to take it over, whether it's legal or not?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Not only, under Fraser's watch, did lawsuits get fought by the City (which the lawsuits were known by upper managaement at the City), they were fought against innocent employees who were stong and brave enough to fight them for such indignities.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

He says he converted a "marginally dysfunctional, highly disaggregated, fiscally unsound" City govenmentinto a "high performing, fiscally responsible, culturally healthy public service organization." I don't think so. He didn't clean up the 15th District Court Management. The same people who allowed an excellent employee get fired by Judge Julie Creal, and backed her for years of costly legal fees and eventual settlement. And Zeisloft went on to cause more legal fees firing an employee who layed in intesive care with a possible heart attack, after being harrassed by a supervisor. The Department of Labor ruled in favor of that employee, but City got off on a technicality.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Hopefully Ka-zoo is smarter than OZ...

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

Here's the MLive live coverage of the interviews today: Some highlights: In answering a question about economic development, Fraser touts Ann Arbor landing the Google office there. He said the city gave Google incentives and he was intimately involved with that. He said it was urgent on the part of the city to land Google and it has been beneficial. Commissioner Anderson asks about some issues in Fraser's past. He refers to issues in Ann Arbor with credit card use and buying a house outside of the city. Fraser: "I don't have any regrets of what I've done. In this profession there are any number of people who would love to bring you down just because you're in the position that you're in." Commissioner Moore asks how many lawsuits his community has had with the police department. Fraser said when he arrived, lawsuits against the city were a phenomenal problem that he thinks had to do with an absence of leadership. He said when he was there the number of lawsuits dropped dramatically. He said they had about 3 a year.

Stuart Brown

Wed, May 22, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

Google probably would have located in Ann Arbor without incentives. How do I know? Well, incentives tend to be one time savings and if Google's business plan is so weak that the incentives matter, they are probably not going to stay long anyway. Anybody want to take bets that Roger "Dodger" will never buy a house in Kazoo?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

I believe Fraser got an extra lump sum of cash from city council to buy a house within the City, but then bought outside the city anyway.

Jay Thomas

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Most public employees of the city live outside of its borders. Do you expect them to pay the high taxes here?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Sorry... lose.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Well at least he didn't loose his charming arrogance.


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 7 p.m.

Can he run a school system?


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

I wonder if Kalamazoo would take references from City of Ann Arbor employees. I suppose if you could find one employee that Fraser wasn't condescending to and publicly spoke down to, maybe Kzoo would actually believe he's a good guy. Oh, and let's remember, Fraser oversees the EFMs. Flint has an EFM and amazingly, Barnett Jones was appointed as the public safety supervisor while still working a full time job in Detroit under Sue McCormick... another Fraser friend. He sure is a great guy....

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

He put on his resume that, while in Ann Arbor, he converted a "marginally dysfunctional, highly disaggregated, fiscally unsound" city government into a "high-performing, fiscally responsible, culturally healthy public service organization." I guess Mr. Frazer is a bit shy about being a rubber stamp puppet for the Governor's emergency manager process, which was rejected by a majority of Michigan voters. Did he forget to add that to his resume? Or that his arogancy and his contempt of transparency was legendary during his time in Ann Arbor?

Bertha Venation

Tue, May 21, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Severance pay for retirement?? Cool beans.... You think the U would do that for me?


Wed, May 22, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

We do it for lots of government employees..............pedal to the metal towards fiscal calamity.........


Tue, May 21, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

and it's worth $3K plus change per month with only 9 years of service!