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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 2000, AT 12:00 NOON
COUNCIL CHAMBERS-NOVI CIVIC CENTER-45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 12:04 PM
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche and Kramer
ALSO PRESENT: Craig Klaver, Acting City Manager
Tia Gronlund-Fox, Human Resource Specialist
Asa Smith commended Council on the process they had been going through selecting a new City Manager. He said the residents appreciated all their hard work to this point to make a decision on the next leader for our City. Mr. Smith felt Richard Helwig stood out above the rest and felt that he would give Novi what Council was looking for in management of this City.
Dave Ingmire passed out a letter that he had sent to Mayor Clark in January regarding his concern with some of the things going on in the City. He said Novi was a great City to live in but felt some changes were needed within the operation of the City and enforcement of its ordinances. He believed there was weakness in the middle management of the City and that someone needed to study how the performance of the City could be improved along the lines of enforcement of ordinances.
He believed the City catered to new construction and businesses in Novi and has sort of left all the subdivisions in the City on their own. There are probably 1,000 or more citizens who make changes to their residences and their property without the proper permits. Right now a minor land permit in the City of Novi cost $118.00 and if we have 1,000 people doing this work without permits a year that is $118,000. There is a lot of money being wasted for two reasons. The City is not getting the permits and there is no review so there is damage to other people’s property because of someone putting in six inches of soil and changing the drainage characteristics or the soil is going into the retention basins and blocking drainage. The D.P.W, then spends a lot of money to fix the problem
Mr. Ingmire said last year Whispering Meadows Subdivision and Carriage Hill both had work done that cost thousands of dollars to the taxpayers. He believed this was a direct result of the lack of ordinance control in the City.
Mr. Ingmire felt the City needed to hire a City Manager who was not just a caretaker. He thought there was potential to save 10 to 15% of the City budget by reorganizing the way the City is operated. He thought there could be a lot of savings by doing a diagnostic on the way that the City operated and improve its performance. He hoped when Council reviewed the candidates that there is one who could recognize the weaknesses of the City and help us to improve our performance.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
Discussion on City Manager candidates
Mayor Clark said the meeting was to choose a finalist for City Manager and if this were done there would be another open meeting to discuss the terms of any package offered the finalist. He would suggest that this second meeting be held Saturday, March 11th, mid morning. Then a meeting would be scheduled that same afternoon with the final candidate and legal counsel to discuss the terms that will govern that employment relationship.
The three remaining candidates are James Pierce, Mark Vanderpool and Richard Helwig.
Member Csordas said his vote would go for Richard Helwig. He thought through the interview process and meeting with Mr. Helwig at the reception that his educational background, professional experience, demeanor and people skills are exemplary.
Member Csordas said when the candidates were asked, yes or no, if they would move to Novi there was some hesitation and comments from the others but Mr. Helwig gave a very quick yes. Mr. Helwig has some very interesting opinions about City government such as in house counsel. Mr. Helwig thought that relationships between City and Schools, the business community and residents were essential and critical to run a good City. He supports preserving historic buildings and areas and supports employee evaluations.
Member DeRoche also supported Mr. Helwig and felt that he was an extraordinary find for the City of Novi and the right blend of professional services.
Member Bononi echoed the sentiments of the previous speakers. She saw qualities in Mr. Helwig such as great spirit with regard to relating to other people, an attribute of openness about him and a willingness to being asked very difficult questions. Most importantly, with Council, Administration and residents commitment, she believed that Mr. Helwig had the potential to unite us. Member Bononi felt Mr. Helwig could bring new life and a new spirit of cooperation to the City of Novi.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo concurred with the previous speakers. She said Mr. Helwig did stand above the rest and she believed he was the most qualified of the candidates. He has a very diverse background in terms of experience and education. She said what impressed her was that he took the responsibility of the position very seriously and is professional and personable. He believes in the democratic process and fiscal responsibility.
Member Crawford concurred with the previous speakers. He thought Mr. Helwig was the right man at the right time and he was very excited to see him come on board and do what he has offered to do. He felt Mr. Helwig was the right person at the right time and agreed that he would unite everybody.
Member Kramer felt Mr. Helwig met all Council’s goals and objectives and felt that he was a very good fit with Novi to move into the new century.
Mayor Clark thanked all of the candidates who interviewed for the City Manager position. He thanked the citizens for their comments and input in this process. Finally, he thanked Council, Ms. Gronlund, Mr. Klaver and the City Clerk.
Mayor Clark made the comments unanimous. He thought Mr. Helwig stood out among the three. He is professional and personable. Mayor Clark said in the last interview session the candidates were offered the opportunity to question Council. Mr. Helwig brought the issue right to the forefront and said he would like to talk to the Council about the issue of trust. Mayor Clark said Council is trying to bring the community together as a whole as much as humanly possible in a growing community with the growing pains that are in any community. He said for Mr. Helwig to key in on that element it said he knew what needed to be done and what City Management is all about and what it takes to have a successful City.
CM-00-03-048 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To make an offer of employment to Mr. Richard
Helwig to be the next City Manager for the City of Novi.
Roll call vote on CM-00-03-048 Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas,
Mayor Clark asked Ms. Gronlund to notify the other finalists of Council’s decision and to contact Mr. Helwig.
Mayor Clark said there would be an additional open meeting needed to outline the employment package. He asked that this be done mid-morning on March 11th and then if Mr. Helwig is available ask him to come in and present the package to him about 12:30 PM and come to an understanding. Also come to an understanding of when Mr. Helwig could begin his new position. Mayor Clark asked legal counsel to be present also.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said it was her impression that they would start the process of the compensation package today. She said she would not be available March 11th.
Mayor Clark’s concern with that was the tenor of the letter received from Counsel and the way it is worded and the way the agenda is set forth it just indicates discussion of City Manager Candidates. He did not think this should proceed without an announced purpose that the meeting is to discuss the employment packet.
Member Crawford also felt it would be discussed today. This meeting was to discuss City Manager candidates and within that realm he felt compensation could be added to the agenda with unanimous support. This topic is under discussion so he felt it would be appropriate to add it to the agenda
Mayor Clark said without legal counsel present who for purposes of our meeting is also our parliamentarian, he had concerns.
Member Crawford said Council would not have to discuss a lot. The issues would be a salary range, vacation, car compensation and a couple of other things. He said if our opinions were known today and perhaps if all were in agreement some conclusion could be made.
Member Kramer said if Council is uncomfortable with today he suggested Tuesday, March 7th so that Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo could be present and then meet with Mr. Helwig on Saturday, March 11th.
Mr. Klaver said he and Member Crawford had a Cable Meeting in the City of Farmington on Tuesday at 4:30 PM and they generally run a couple of hours. Member Crawford said he had continued negotiations with Time Warner after that meeting.
Mayor Clark suggested a meeting Wednesday, March 8th at 7:00 PM.
CM-00-03-049 Moved by Kramer, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To schedule a Special Meeting Wednesday, March 8th, at 6:00 PM
for the purposes of establishing the perimeters of an employment
package to be offered to Mr. Richard Helwig and to schedule a
Special Meeting on Saturday, March 11th at noon to present the
Compensation package to Mr. Helwig.
Member Crawford asked if there were any more detail or comparisons Ms. Gronlund could provide. It would give Council a basis to start their discussions.
Roll call vote on CM-00-03-049 Yeas: Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,
Toni Nagy, Lakewood Park Homes, was present to express their appreciation on behalf of their Board of Directors and Association who believe that their decision is the correct one. She thanked Council for the hard work put into the process and appreciated the fact that these meetings were televised. She said the Village Oaks Homeowners Association would like to thank Council also for their wonderful job.
Asa Smith, 1294 East Lake Drive, offered his congratulations for the hard work Council had done. He thought as a resident and concerned citizen of the City of Novi that a lot of people watching would pay attention to what had happened this afternoon. He said the people that the residents put into office to carry their trust and faith forward are doing the job that they have been elected to do. He believed that a move has been made to help our City and every resident that lives here.
He asked that Council put together a package of employment for Mr. Helwig that all the bases be covered to make a job future secure for the new Manager. He also asked that Council have a back up plan available if the negotiations are not to Mr. Helwig’s liking. He felt this was important to look at.
Mr. Klaver said this was a very enjoyable process and he and Ms. Gronlund have been proud to assist Council in this entire endeavor.
Mr. Klaver said there have been a lot of questions from the media and they have asked that they be notified when the decisions are made and wanted Council to be aware of that and is instructing him to make those notifications to the media.
Additionally, he asked Council to look at their calendars because on Monday, March 6th they would suggest that Council look at Saturday, March 18th as a possible date for the City Clerk interviews. There are seven candidates.
Mayor Clark assumed the meeting should start around 9:00 AM.
Mr. Klaver said Mr. Helwig would be unavailable today and tomorrow so a message will be left at his home. Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo suggested leaving the message with his wife in Birmingham also.
CM-00-03-050 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the meeting at 12:52 PM.
Vote on CM-00-03-050 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Nancy Reutter, Deputy City Clerk
Charlene Mc Lean
Date approved: March 20, 2000