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Posted on Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

John Hansen resigns as Ypsilanti interim city manager

By Cindy Heflin

John Hansen, interim city manager for Ypsilanti, has resigned his position effective Friday, Mayor Paul Schreiber announced.

Schreiber said the resignation was “totally his decision,” while Hansen described it as mutual.

John Hansen Photo.jpg

John Hansen

“I think we came to the conclusion that I’m just not the right person for this assignment. There’s no good reason to go on when things don’t feel quite right.”

Hansen, former state legislator and Dexter school superintendent, has served as interim superintendent for several school districts and was once interim city manager in Chelsea.

He said Ypsilanti is facing challenges he has not dealt with in the past.

“They’ll be better served by someone else,” he said.

Schreiber said, per the city charter, City Clerk Frances McMullan will act as interim city manager until City Council appoints a new interim city manager.

Schreiber said he didn’t know how soon a new interim manager would be appointed. “This has all been pretty fast moving,” he said.

Hansen started the job two weeks ago and was making $400 per day.

Hansen represented the 52nd district of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. Prior to that he served as Dexter School’s superintendent for 15 years.

Council is working on a five-year financial plan that will eliminate a $10.69 million budget shortfall projected for 2017. The city also will ask voters in May to approve both an income tax and Water Street debt retirement millage.

Ypsilanti hired Hansen after former City Manager Ed Koryzno resigned to take a job with the state advising financially distressed communities on how to avoid takeover by an emergency manager.


Rodney Nanney

Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

The City of Ypsilanti is not in financial trouble because of the Charter Township Act. Years ago the city had an opportunity handed to them to annex Ypsilanti Township and refused it. The City of Ypsilanti is not in financial trouble because of falling property tax revenues, falling state revenue sharing dollars, or Lansing's long failure to fully fund the Act 289 dollars that the city should receive for providing fire protection to EMU - although these factors are making it harder for the current Council to fix the real problem. The REAL REASON the City of Ypsilanti is in financial trouble is because (former) Mayor Cheryl Farmer, her most reliable vote (former) Councilmember John Gawlas, and Mr. Linguinispine (former City Manager Ed Koryzno chose to gamble the city's full faith and credit on a 38 acre redevelopment scheme, and then completely fumbled the implementation of the project. If the city did not have to make $million plus annual payments on the $30+ Million "Water Street" debt, we would be like most other Michigan communities - struggling but making things work. With the Water Street debt, Ypsilanti is nothing more than an insolvent debtor in denial. No amount of tax increased can pay this debt off and restore financial soundness. The city's own analyses bear this out. It is time to invite the Governor to appoint an emergency manager, and for that emergency manager to request permission to take the city through a GM-style managed municipal bankruptcy. To wait, or to continue to hold to the Farmer/Gawlas' fantasy math that we can tax our way to prosperity, simply delays the inevitable and will make any future settlement of the debt that much more difficult and expensive for the taxpayers of this town.

Rodney Nanney

Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

A municipal bankruptcy is the legal process by which the city can most easily restructure the debt, likely negotiating with creditors to reach a settlement by which perhaps half or more of the $30Million+ is wiped out and a portion paid off immediately through use of the current fund balance. This would leave a manageable amount (perhaps $5-$10 Million or so) for the city to pay back over a period of years through a debt millage or from the general fund.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 6:36 a.m.

Bankruptcy won't get rid of the debt.


Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

a voice of reason in the wilds of Ypsilanti, thank you Mr. Nanney


Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

I'm not sure I'm with you about the EM part, but your post is excellent. This is EXACTLY the root of the problem, and this overwhelming incompetence has yet to be even acknowledged. A highly intelligent, highly creative group of people are needed to try to address this problem, and it's going to take intensive effort on their part. No elected official in Ypsi meets that description at this time.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

HMMM the city manger Ed koryno Moved on to help other..Financal Destress CITY......HE he didnot finish the JOB HERE...good for mr.hanson Since he cannot help the city of YPSI with there finance...make you/me wunder WHO is running the cITY?

joe golder

Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

EMU Cartel!


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

In other words, they don't want to hear what Mr. Hansen has to say.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

When I first read the headlines, I expected a deluge of comments on how Mr. Hansen "couldn't handle" the responsibilities of Interim Manager, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's nice to see the #1 comment written in his favor. I too, worked for him many years ago in the Dexter School District, and I credit his many years of strong fiscal leadership (along with a few others now retired) for the excellent financial shape the district is in now. In this case, it's Ypsi's loss.

Fat Bill

Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

Ypsilanti has been choked off by the effects of the Charter Township Act, essentially preventing the city from growing. I say Ypsilanti should disincorporate, thus becoming a part of the Township(s) that imprisoned it...


Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

not an option, they would have to vote us in...


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Commenting to point out a few issues with other comments. Some are implying or directly stating that the local finances are not available for public review. All local governments in MI produce annual (or, for areas with populations of less than 4,000 biannual) independent (as in, not prepared by the local government, but rather by an accounting company) audits reports. Copies of these audits are available on local government websites, through the State Treasury, and in hard copy via FOIA if you're unwilling to print it yourself. City of Ypsi Audits &amp; Budget Reports: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> State of Michigan Department of Treasury, Local Unit Audit Reports: <a href=",1607,7-121-1751_31038---,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,1607,7-121-1751_31038---,00.html</a> When property values collapse, due to the structure of Michigan tax law (owing to 1994's Proposal A), it may well take over a decade for the tax base to be restored. Prop A limits the growth in taxable value to the rate of inflation, as given by the US Consumer Price Index, or 5% - whichever is lower. For those who prefer a more direct explanation: Tax Revenue = Taxable Value * Millage Rate Millage Rate = $X in taxes paid, per $1000 of taxable property value Taxable Value is capped at the State Equalized Value, but will only equal this amount immediately following a sale of the property. SEV is roughly equal to the 50% of the market value of the property. The longer a property has been held by the current owner, the greater the gap between the taxable value and the actual property value. If turnover is low - if properties do not change ownership often - it may well be decades before tax revenues are restored to pre-collapse levels. Management / mismanagement has nothing to do with that - it's just the way state tax law is written.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

It may also be of interest to know that students from EMU's Economics program, both undergraduate and graduate, are currently starting research projects for Ypsi &amp; it's DDA. These aren't internships or jobs. These are volunteer service to support the community.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

@Joe Re: &quot;$146,000 year:&quot; Strange math there, guy. Five days a week times 50 weeks a year is a very full schedule, with not much vacation time. That adds up to 1,250 days, for a salary of $100K per year. Decent pay -- I'd love to make that much -- but hardly extravagant. And while I'd love to make that much, I wouldn't want to do that job for that little pay -- who needs the grief?


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

the article said &quot;$400 per day&quot; so thats what i used. the &quot;math&quot; isnt wrong, the givens may be, we dont know how much he was supposed to work, based on this article. and the point remains. the city of ypsilanti has 20,000 residents.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

When Hansen had a chance to experience the &quot;culture of backwardness&quot; in Ypsilanti, he realized this was a very daunting task. Read his word carefully and examine his professional and political background. Cities like Ypsilanti, Flint, Pontiac, Detroit have such dysfunctional histories, its almost impossible under the current management structure to bring them into the modern world.


Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

KIR-&quot;Culture of Backwardness&quot; ...really? Oh yeah, it must be our problem...we all from da backwoods out here in Ypsi

The Black Stallion3

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Sounds like Ypsilanti is missing the revenue that Ford used to contribute......but who wanted those self serving auto companies around you miss them now?

Black Coffee :)

Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

yes! they do


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Time for Ypsilanti to get a state appointment financial manager.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

this is a city asking residents for more and more tax money (already by far the highest taxed city in the county) and the interim city manager is making 146,000 a year? And is self-admittedly not qualified for the job?


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

@Joe, if you read the article carefully he claims that he's &quot;not the right person&quot; for the job. This doesn't say anything about qualifications. He could be highly qualified, have all the right skills, but disagree with something that's going on in the job.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

i based it on the article's quote of &quot;$400 per day&quot; even so, you think $100,000 is reasonable for a city of 20,000 people? a city that has a tax millage of around 60 and is now proposing much more, as well as an income tax? To a guy that admits he's not qualified for the job? it's amazing to me that people can endorse handing more and more money over to these people. side note, why in the world would you think he would get paid $100k and not get paid vacation time?


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

Interesting math. 5 work days in a week. 52 weeks in a year. Max of $104,000 assuming that he takes no time off, which would likely be unpaid. So assume two weeks off, that's $100,000 even. Seems right on the money to me. He wouldn't be paid on weekends, which is what your calculation assumes.

City Confidential

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

This should be an indicator of how important it is that Ypsilanti residents come together to stabilize this community into the future. We have major issues that must be addressed, that are not quick and easy fixes, and that require some serious intervention. We can save Ypsilanti if we act swiftly and act together. If it wasn't apparent before, it should be now that what will save Ypsilanti is the residents stepping up and protecting each other. SAVE YPSILANTI with a YES for increased revenue and stability for our community!


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Increase in &quot;revenue&quot; ..NO audit the books ....


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

just to be clear, economic issues aside (unemployment etc) and understand the tax base has dwindled you want citizens to give MORE money to the SAME group that got you here in the first place? makes sense to me


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Does not make sense that if revenue goes down, taxes would be raised on residents, especially in these trying times. I doubt that all waste has been eliminated. If the books were truly open for all to see, I'll bet we would agree on waste that can be eliminated. No more taxes, please ,

City Confidential

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

City revenues have gone down 35% in the last three years due to falling property values. We have 40% of our land mass covered by a non-tax paying University, a massive retirement pension program to fund, an aging infrastructure and 2/3 less coming in from state revenue sharing. We have already cut our budget to the bone, with a reduction from 139 employees to 72. (35 police, 20 fire, 18 city hall/other) Without additional revenues, we will see a further reduction of 41 more. Those are facts, not emotional appeals. The intervention we need is increased revenue to cover costs that are utterly unavoidable. The best way to diversify revenue is to ask the 6,000 people that enter Ypsi each day to contribute a small amount each, and to protect our general fund from the burdens of bond holder payments that are coming due. I live in this city and it is my future here that I am interested in saving, along with my neighbors and friends. We can do this if we act now and act together. Ypsi is an awesome city with residents who are willing to work together for our future. Bring it on - we're working to SAVE YPSI with a YES for stability!


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

Your plan is to raise taxes? That's it? Even though you implied the city has major issues that are not quick and easy fixes and require intervention? Wow --- do you work for the federal government too? Because there model is the same - tax and tax and tax and spend and spend and spend money we dont have. How do we get it? Tax more ... and the circle continues. Glad I live in the township.

average joe

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

Ypsi's 'challenges' must be really bad if someone with Mr. Hansen's experience can't be helpful.


Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

&quot;Challenges&quot; = city council members. Why would a man of his qualifications waste time trying to beat his head against a brick wall? As a group, that council is ignorant, out of touch with reality, and completely unqualified. How is Lois Richardson still on that council? What has she ever done other than expose the city to liability with her racist and bigoted comments and behavior towards city employees who happen to be white? Ypsi's actually in better shape than most, having taken numerous steps to address its *projected* deficit over the last several years, unlike many municipalities that have yet to read the writing on the wall, even though they are running deficits now.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

If John can't fix it, nobody can! Good luck Ypsilanti City, sounds like you will need it.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Maybe they should hire Andy &quot;Ypsilanti&quot; Clock as the new manager.