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City offers top job to former Alpena manager

Thad Taylor, former City Manager in Alpena, was chosen to be the new Cedar Springs City Manager.

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs made a decision Wednesday evening to offer the City Manager job to Thad Taylor, former City Manager of Alpena. They chose Jonathan Greene, Executive DDA Director in Jackson, Michigan, as an alternate.

Christine Burns, who formerly held the City Manager job for five years, is now the Village Manager of Spring Lake.

The City held candidate interviews last Saturday with their top seven candidates, and narrowed that field down to three—Taylor, Greene, and Patrick Reagan, DDA Director in Portland. The final interviews were held Wednesday evening, August 8, with at least two-dozen community and city staff members attending. After the interviews, the Council asked each person in the audience who they would choose, then discussed their own top choices.

Taylor was City Manager of Alpena, from December 2007-April 2012, and interim City Manager at Alpena 2006-2007. He was Public Safety Director there from 1992-2007. Before that, he was Police Chief and Public Safety Director in DeWitt Charter Township from 1988-92, and worked in Greenville for 26 years, including Public safety from 1977-1984. He still has family there.

Taylor was fired from his job in Alpena last April, on a 3-1 vote by the City Council, according to the Alpena News. Recall petitions for the mayor and two council members that fired him will be on the November ballot. No explanation was given from the Alpena City Council for his firing, other than that the city wanted to “move in a new direction.”

All the Cedar Springs City Council members had Taylor as one of their top two candidates, and then agreed unanimously to make him their top choice. While many of the council members appreciated Greene’s enthusiasm and expertise with businesses, they liked Taylor’s experience as a City Manager. “I don’t have to take him by the hand and show him how to run the city,” said Mayor Charlie Watson. “He’s ready to do that.”

“Business is important, but our primary responsibility is to make sure police get there, buildings don’t burn down, and the water stays turned on,” said Councilor Pam Conley.

“His experience impressed me,” said Councilor Pat Capek. “He comes as a well-rounded applicant.”

Mayor pro-tem Christine Fahl said that Taylor went above and beyond the other candidates, from the phone calls to find out about the city, to walking up and down Main Street introducing himself to the business owners. She also liked that he offered to save the City money by opting out of health insurance, not taking a car, and proposing severance on a graded scale, instead of a flat scale. “He also can start within two weeks,” she added.

Contract negotiations will begin immediately, and the City Council will formally vote on his appointment tonight (Thursday, August 9) at the regular City Council meeting.

Frank Walsh, the longtime City Manager in St. Joseph, and former City Manager in Cedar Springs for five years in the 1990s, conducted the Cedar Springs City Manager search for the city at no charge, saving the city about $10,000.

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9 Responses to “City offers top job to former Alpena manager”

  1. Ed Valiket says:

    Why is it we have to go outside the area to get a person qualified to be city manager and why are we all gaga over the one person who was just fired from his job??? Smells a little fishy to me

  2. Michele Andres says:

    Welcome! This is very exciting!

  3. Ed Valiket says:

    Since my first post above I have been in contact with with persons who know Mr Taylor and he is not someone who we want running our small city. There are good reasons he was fired from Alpena and I do not want him in charge here of anything.
    I hope the people in charge of hiring are reading this.
    Ed

  4. Clinton Conley says:

    Ed- The entire process was done in a public forum, with many members of the public choosing to be present. It is unfortunate that the council didn’t have your input when it was still timely.

  5. Ed Valiket says:

    I agree unfortunately I live in Cedar Springs but my business is in Howard City and I am only home from 11 pm till 8am which makes it hard to attend these meetings. I usually find these things our after the fact. I only wish the council would take the time to check the background on people they are going to hire especially knowing this fellow had been fired from his last job didn`t that raise any red flags at all? I know when I hire someone I want to be sure I can trust them and they are reliable with a good work ethic.

  6. Clinton Conley says:

    I haven’t yet met Mr. Taylor, but it speaks volumes to me that the members of the Alpena council that ousted him are now being recalled by the community. It means that many people in Alpena thought it was wrong to fire him, and were willing to donate time and effort to defend him, since you need at least 25% of the electorate in the last election in order to hold a recall. At least 25% of Alpena has reacted in seeming approval of Mr. Taylor.

  7. Ed Valiket says:

    Remember what happened in Wisconsin this past spring with the governor recall? Scott Walker was the best thing to happen to Wisconsin in years but they still tried to recall him so the recall really means nothing to me in this instance.

  8. Jan Canode says:

    Hello to the citizens of Cedar Springs. I’ve read these posts, and I want to assure you that you are getting a “Class A” City Manager. I worked for him as his assistant prior to my retirement. A finer boss doesn’t exist. He will do a terrific job for your city. His termination from Alpena was an outrageous event, and there is a recall that will be on the November ballot. The folks responsible will lose their seats on the Council, and rightfully so. Have faith in this man. He’ll treat you with respect and will do the City’s business transparently. No cloak and dagger. Congratulations, Cedar Springs. You hired a winner!

  9. katie says:

    If he is reading comments on recent stories regarding the RFF and the “Cedartucky” view shared by many surrounding communities he may decide to stay in Alpena.
    I sincerely hope the words of Jan Canode are true!

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