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Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Tom Crawford to step in to fill Ann Arbor city administrator position temporarily

By Ryan J. Stanton

Tom Crawford will step in as Ann Arbor's interim city administrator after Roger Fraser retires at the end of this month, the Ann Arbor City Council decided Tuesday night.

The vote was unanimous to have Crawford, the city's chief financial officer since July 2004, fill the position until the city can find a permanent replacement for Fraser, who has taken a job in Lansing as deputy treasurer for the state of Michigan.

A resident of Ann Arbor and native of North Carolina, Crawford previously was employed by the Ford Motor Co. He also worked for the FDIC and federal Office of Thrift Supervision.


CFO Tom Crawford will take over as Ann Arbor's interim city administrator at the end of this month.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Crawford won't fill the administrator's position permanently. The interim job was open only to internal candidates, with the stipulation that the person chosen would not be considered for the permanent job.

The city's search committee has decided to tap the expertise of an executive search firm to find a permanent administrator. The city will pay Pennsylvania-based Affion Public somewhere short of $25,000 for its services, inclusive of travel costs.

Members of the city's search committee include Mayor John Hieftje and Council Members Sabra Briere, Christopher Taylor, Tony Derezinski and Marcia Higgins.

Higgins, D-4th Ward, said the 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.

The salary range is somewhat similar to what administrators in other Michigan cities make. In Grand Rapids, the administrator makes $142,000. In Sterling Heights, it's $140,207.

Higgins said the job description will be posted online today. She said the city will be taking applications from both internal and external candidates.

Many have speculated Ann Arbor's current public services area administrator Sue McCormick seems the most logical appointment if the city is going to promote from within.

Higgins said the goal is to conduct interviews in June, with a new administrator selected by July 1, the start of the city's next fiscal year. That person would start their new job Aug. 1.

"It's very aggressive, but we think it's doable," Higgins said.

Briere, D-1st Ward, said she has received feedback from residents in an online survey and they appear to be concerned about the capacity of the next administrator to handle the city's budget issues and communicate effectively with council and the community.

The city's charter states the city administrator shall be the administrative agent of the City Council and is in charge of directing and supervising the work of the police department, fire department, public works, utilities, parks and recreation, building and safety engineering, clerk, controller and other departments designated by council.

The city administrator also is responsible for presenting a balanced budget to the City Council every year, usually around April.

Fraser could receive a pension worth more than $41,000 annually when he retires after nine-plus years as Ann Arbor's top administrator, according to an analysis of city records. He also will be eligible for lifetime health insurance benefits.

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.



Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

If the city wants true change and a chance to move forward into the future, it is clear that a candidate from outside the city would be the best choice. None of the current service area administrators are equipped or experienced to take on this important role. Ms. McCormick should not embarass herself into thinking she is knowledgeable about how to manage or lead anything other than the utilities piece she currently oversees. There are others on her staff that are really managing the other public service operations. Truly, she is more concerned about her personal relationship with Safety Manager Bob Cariano than the actual operations of the city. Hoping the Council is not fooled by her paid coaching demeanor which has taught her how to appear more human to others. She is the same old Sue. And other than Ms. McCormick, there isn't another Administrator who is able or even interested in serving in this role. Time to see if someone in another jurisdiction is willing to come to Ann Arbor.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 6:20 p.m.

also I might add: Normally you only need 1 taxi to every 1 thousand residents which would give A2 maybe 110 taxis operating locally. But under Tom Crawford the amount grew to approx. 170. He will tell you different but check around for yourself and ask local taxi drivers what allowing all these questionable individuals from outside A2 into town to operate did to the local industry.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

cont. Example of the effects Tom Crawford has on Local business: Yellow Cab ----------> The biggest taxi company in town! Yellow Cab is so disgusted with the A2 Taxi board and Tom Crawford's management of the board that they are getting ready to forego any licensing with the city of A2 and go directly to the state level for operating authority. How sad is that? He cant even manage a small city Taxi board and you want him to run the city? That's insane! His mismanagement has driven just this one company to the point of dropping a long time relationship with the city in order to remain financially sound during these harsh economic times. Over regulation / mis regulation / lack of regulation / lack of enforcement Allowing drivers with DUI's to have taxi license's allowing drivers with huge amounts of points on they're Mich DL to continue to operate as drivers in the city of A2 Using his position to pursue personal vendettas or some personal misguided sense of justice he applies discriminately to those he deems worthy or unworthy at his own personal whim. In other words if he doesn't like you ……………he will find a way to try and get rid of you. My question is if this has happened in just this one little industry What has happened in other local industries that we haven't heard about ? Just my thoughts. Be care of your government and make sure it truly represents you


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Two things --1 - we are taking tax dollars ($25,000) and paying an out-of-state consulting firm to help find a new city administrator. Why? 2-Working 9 yrs. and receiving a $41,000 pension plus full health benefits. I truly believe that the city fathers should go back and take a real hard look at the retirement requirements and perhaps revise them somewhat to meet the needs of the dollars available. And, if you've not heard of it, grandfathering new requirements is a good way to go.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 10:27 a.m.

"Briere, D-1st Ward, said she has received feedback from residents in an online survey and they appear to be concerned about the capacity of the next administrator to handle the city's budget issues and communicate effectively with council and the community." Which is EXACTLY why any of the current failed leadership should be avoided and someone from the outside should be brought in. Sue McCormick is a textbook example of mismanagement and failure we've gotten from the likes of Fraser, Crawford and the rest of the top management currently in place. McCormick will mean more FOIAs, arrogance and Union Bashing, all of which Ann Arbor DOES not need any more of.