Ypsilanti City Clerk Frances McMullen withdraws as city manager candidate
Ypsilanti City Clerk Frances McMullen withdrew Friday as a candidate for the city manager position, Mayor Paul Schreiber said.
The move wasn't expected by city officials, they said.
“I was surprised,” Schreiber said. “My understanding is when she was contacted to set up the interview time, she said she was withdrawing. I have not received anything other than the schedule say she withdrew.”
Schreiber said he was not given a reason. McMullen could not be reached for comment.
City Council had picked McMullen on Thursday night during its budget meeting as one of three candidates for city manager.
While he believes McMullen has done a good job as city clerk and interim city manager, Schreiber believes the city needs someone with a wealth of experience to help tackle the city’s looming budget issues.
“I can see her taking on a greater role in the city than city clerk,” Schreiber said. “It’s just I think that we do need someone with experience and some battle scars to step in the position and help us navigate.”
The remaining candidates, former Grosse Pointe Shores City Manager Brian Vick and Ralph Lange, executive director of the Henry County (Ohio) Improvement Corp., are strong choices, Schreiber said.
“I think we have a couple of high quality candidates to choose from and they both have experience and I think we can move ahead after these two interviews,” he said. “Like I said the other night, I was actually ready to make a decision then.”
Critics have scrutinized both Lange and Vick in terms of experience, but Schreiber said the reality is there is no such thing as a perfect candidate.
“When you go through the hiring process, there are always parts of candidates you really like, and you wish you could take all of those parts and put them together to create the perfect candidate, but the perfect candidate doesn’t exist,” he said.
Schreiber said City Council has an important decision to make that will affect all facets of the city.
The city manager will be responsible for running the day to day operations of the city along with providing ideas and suggestions to the council.
“The fact that we’re getting a new city manager is going to change the government in Ypsilanti one way or another, so I think its an opportunity especially for some people that think we need some change,” Schreiber said. “Some people that voted no I’m sure would like to see some change. Well, change is happening right now.”
Using former City Manager Ed Koryzno as an example, Screiber said the decision could impact the city for years to come.
“As a matter of fact, I think it is the most important decision because [the city manger job] can easily outlive a city council [position],” he said. “Koryzno was here for 15 1/2 years. I don’t know if our pick will be here for 15 1/2 years but Ed Koryzno had a lot of influence over what happened in the city of Ypsilanti so this is a huge decision.”
The second round of interviews will take place May 14 in City Hall, with Lange being interviewed at 7 p.m. and Vick at 8 p.m.