View Agenda for this Meeting


 MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2000, AT 6:00 PM


Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.




ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche and Kramer




Jim Korte wanted to know why Channel 13 did not advertise this meeting or the meeting to follow. He realizes that there has been a change in staff but there has to be someone to enter the data. Why is it not being done? Some of the more important meetings and decisions are not being put on cable. This is the kind of situation that has to be stopped. It is important what steps and decisions Council makes regarding the Manager position because it will be monumental.


Asa Smith of 1294 East Lake Drive thanked Council for the job they have done to the present point regarding Manager interviews. Council has the opportunity regarding the final selection, to take a second look at the candidates that will be best for the City of Novi. The citizens of Novi expect Council to make the right decision for the City on the behalf of the residents.


Mr. Smith commented around 10:00 p.m. on East Lake Drive the previous week, there was an explosion and a fire. The incident was reported at 10:05 p.m. and the response was that emergency vehicles were on their way. There was about 15 or 20 minutes response time before vehicles arrived. There is a fire station at Thirteen Mile and Paramount, which is less than a quarter mile away. Usually a police car is at the scene first but a car had not arrived either.


The explosion was a result of persons working in a garage on some snowmobiles. Some gasoline was spilled, which caused the fumes to build and it became ignited. The garage literally blew up. Mr. Smith commented he left his house to see what had happened and give possible assistance. When he got to the location there were three dazed people standing in the driveway. He asked the men how why got out. They did not know. Fortunately, they did not suffer any burns or injuries.


A fire engine finally arrived and two fire fighters started putting out the fire. The garage was close to the house, which started showing signs of heating but was in no danger. The garage was almost completely destroyed. The weather was very cold and there was no wind. There could have been a disaster if it had been windy because the houses are so close. The point is that the response time was not quick enough. The three people were never asked if they were all right or what had happened. The fire fighters went straight to fighting the fire.


One pumper truck ran out of water and another truck arrived. Mr. Smith asked if the tanker truck was coming because of the uncertainty of the situation. There has been a water distribution problem. He suggested maybe the lake water could be used if the fire department could have necessary equipment to cut the ice and pump out the water. The City needs to review what is available for fighting fires especially in the north end of the City. He would like a review and response regarding this situation and the entire fire fighting emergency system for the north end of Novi. The fire department did a fine job but he believes an overview of the process is needed.


Mayor Clark directed Mr. Kriewall to ask Chief Lenaghan to give Council a full report on the situation for the next Council meeting.




Mr. Klaver mentioned at the last Council meeting it was the intention with Council action, to add the City Clerk selection process to this agenda. It got added to the second meeting and he requested Council to add this issue as Item #2.


CM-00-01-408: Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Crawford: CARRIED

UNAMIOUSLY: To Approve Agenda as Amended


Vote on 00-01-408: Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,


Nays: None


Discussion of City Manager candidates for possible second interview.


Mr. Klaver commented the first step was to tabulate the individual selection for the second round of interviews. One of the issues discussed early in the process was what point in time Council would want some background investigation on the candidates. Mr. Klaver suggested that Council consider conducting the investigations on the second round candidates to proceed. Mayor Clark mentioned the first Saturday in March would give enough time. Member DeRoche stated he would not be able to attend the March 4th meeting. Mr. Klaver mentioned the National League of Cities is the following weekend of the 11th –14th. After discussing possible date alternatives, it was determined the next interview date would be February 26, 2000 with a starting time to be determined later in the meeting in response to the number of candidates.


Mayor Clark asked if a tally has been completed on the candidates. Ms. Tia Gronlund-Fox said Richard Helwig received 7 votes, D. Wayne O’Neal received 2 votes, James W. Pierce received 7 votes, Bill Richards, Jr. and Mark Vanderpool each received 5 votes. Mayor Clark mentioned Council would be interviewing four candidates and asked what time does Council want to start the interviews? Mayor Clark suggested the meeting start at 9:00 a.m. Member Csordas said Council should allow the time necessary no matter what the schedule and Mayor Clark agreed. Mayor Clark stated the date is February 26, 2000 at 9:00 a.m. Mayor Clark asked Ms. Gronlund-Fox to notify the four final candidates.


Ms. Gronlund-Fox asked Mayor and Council if they have given any thought to the reception prior to the day of the interviews. Does Council want this done? Mayor Clark said there has been a general discussion to bring the candidates in and meet their spouses in a less formal setting. He does not have a problem with that. Member Crawford said it is an excellent idea and thinks it is a different part of the process and it is important. Member Csordas asked if the City would pay for the spouse’s transportation? Ms. Gronlund-Fox said one candidate is in the state, there is one spouse already in the area so it would be two spouses. Member Crawford and Member Kramer said it is important. Mayor Clark mentioned he is an advocate of fiscal prudence but he is also an advocate for quality. It is a short-term investment with hopefully a successful, long-term payback. Ms. Gronlund-Fox asked if the Friday before the interviews is acceptable? Member DeRoche said he is not able to attend this reception.


Mayor ProTem Lorenzo will go along with Council but believes it would be more appropriate after hiring a Manager for a reception. If it is on a Friday night she might be able to attend but if it is Saturday, that is a very long day and she probably would not attend. Mayor Clark asked if it was Friday, she probably would attend. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo said yes. Mayor Clark commented Friday would be more practical.


Member Bononi mentioned the appropriateness of a reception in regards to the guest list and location. A reception could be uncomfortable for all the candidates to be together and suggests that department heads, who potentially could be looking over their next boss is inappropriate. Thirdly, one of the biggest criticisms of Council is the fact that when there are meetings and places that the public could be invited, they are not invited. It is not appropriate to hold the reception in a hotel. If the majority of Council feels this is a good then the majority feels it is a good idea. But she believes such a reception should be held no place but at the Civic Center where members of the public could attend. She does not believe a lot of money should be spent but serve cookies, tea and coffee. Mayor Clark commented a point well taken and asked if there was any further discussion.


CM-00-01-409: Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED: To hold the Manger candidate’s reception at the Civic Center




Member Crawford will not support the motion. He believes it is appropriate to hold the reception where it was suggested and it was not to disassociate it from the public. It would be a very convenient setting if it were at the hotel.


Member Kramer believes the objective at doing it at all is to provide a relaxed setting so that Council could get to know the candidates a little better. He is not sure if the objective is a public meeting; however it would not be excluded. Council is in the process of selecting a candidate so it would be appropriate for a public welcoming upon selection of a candidate.


Ms. Gronlund-Fox comment the intention was not to have an elaborate function. It was to be something simple if Council agreed. Mayor Clark stated all comments were excellent but one concern he has is going beyond Council. He would want Ms. Gronlund-Fox to attend and Mr. Klaver. He does not think it would be a good idea to have department heads attend. The motion on the floor is to see if the reception will be held at the Civic Center or at the Doubletree Hotel.


Member DeRoche understands the point is it is a public meeting so it should be somewhere the public has access to attend. If the motion is not successful, he would like to see the reception in a lounge area so it is accessible to the public.


Roll call vote on CM-00-01-409 Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Csordas, DeRoche

Nays: Crawford, Kramer


Member Csordas confirmed that the reception would not include department heads. Mayor Clark stated it would involve Council, Mr. Klaver and Ms. Gronlund-Fox.


Member Crawford stated it is a public event so department heads could attend. Mayor Clark said yes, they are citizens and would be welcome.


Mr. Klaver again stated when would Council want the background investigation to begin? It was mentioned that Council consider the process be supervised by the City Labor Attorney’s firm. There are many complicated rules and regulations that need to be followed and Mr. Klaver suggested the process be conducted through the labor attorney’s firm. Does Council want to do the four now or conduct the interviews then do the investigation?


Member Crawford commented it is very important to do them now. Council could find out something that Council was not aware of and not want to invite a candidate to interview.


CM-00-01-410: Moved by Crawford, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: Council to authorize the Assistant City Manager to pursue with the Labor Attorney’s and conduct the appropriate background investigation for the final four candidates




Mayor ProTem Lorenzo asked if the labor attorney is going to contact an independent investigative firm? Mr. Klaver answered yes because that is the normal process of the firm. If Council were interested he would like to get more specific costs and time frame. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo asked if that could be done in a timely fashion? Mr. Klaver said it could be done fairly quickly. Mayor Clark asked by next Monday? Mr. Klaver said he would target for next Monday. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo commented her main objective is to have a totally independent source for the investigation. If this is the case she will support the motion. She would like to see the Manager in place by April 1st so he could be involved in the budget process.


Member Kramer said he supports the discussion and wants to see the information completed before the interviews. Member Crawford said there could be a possibility that Council does not want a candidate to come back so it is important the information is reviewed before the candidate is asked to come back. Mayor Clark said the information needs to be back so Council can review in advance and the candidates have time to make travel arrangements.


Member Csordas asked how quickly could a background check be done? Mr. Klaver said it would be 10 to 14 days. If Council notifies the candidates for a second interview and a week or two later an issue comes back and the City now longer desires to interview them, there could be some ramifications. Mr. Klaver’s recommendation would be if Council invites them to go forward and interview.


Member Bononi asked Mr. Klaver the level of information or options that would be available to Council in regard to the information presented. Mr. Klaver needs to have more information before commenting. This question along with the costs and time frame and information are the questions that need to be answered by the next Council meeting. Member Bononi wants a specific description of the level of information that will be provided to Council.


Member Crawford asked if Mr. Klaver has an estimate on what the investigation might cost? Mr. Klaver said he has no idea but it should be in the neighborhood of $800-$1,000 per candidate.


Vote on CM-00-01-410: Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas,

DeRoche, Kramer

Nays: None


Ms. Gronlund-Fox commented Council has received a copy of a survey of City Manager wages from some surrounding areas and the candidates will be sent an application. Member Crawford asked if it is appropriate to ask the potential candidates a range they expect to be in or give them a range that the City is going to offer? The reason is a candidate may say they will not come to the City for what is offered. Mr. Klaver recommends that Council focus on qualifications and identify the candidate most qualified and defer the question of salary until that time. It makes for a cleaner process and he believes the candidates have investigated the salary issue themselves.


Member Csordas asked if salary requirements are listed on the City application? Ms. Gronlund-Fox said it only asks for current salary and a salary history. Mr. Klaver said another reason for the application is because there is a waiver statement that authorizes the City to do a background investigation.


Mayor ProTem Lorenzo commented there might need to be an appointment of an interim City Manger. This might need to be done at the next regular Council meeting. Mr. Klaver said the process of City Manager is actually the recommendation of the current City Manger and requires the concurrence of Council, which is included in the City Charter. Mayor Clark agrees with Mr. Klaver’s comments for the record that any candidate who is interested in the position of City Manager has done his homework.


City Clerk Selection Process


Mr. Klaver said Council previously received a memo with some recommendations in terms on how the City might manage the recruitment advertising process. Council also received an example of an ad to illustrate the kinds of information that ought to be included.


Ms. Gronlund-Fox said a City Clerk wage survey was also included in the packet of information. The same cities were surveyed for the Clerk’s position as the Manger. The cities were named along with the salaries and population. The cities involved are Farmington Hills, Southfield, Madison Heights, Troy, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Birmingham and Ferndale. The average salary between the cities is $64,601 and the current Novi City Clerk’s salary is $63,511.


Member Crawford asked for the record, why these cities were surveyed and the reasons behind it? Ms. Gronlund-Fox explained traditionally these are the cities that have been surveyed in the past and the reason being is because four have a greater population than Novi and the other four have a population less than Novi. Mr. Klaver confirmed they are the four communities above and below the City of Novi’s population.


Ms. Gronlund-Fox commented on the document, which included the salary range that is used for hiring a department head and the range used for administrative employees. Mr. Klaver added that there is a range schedule for administrative positions with the exception of City Manager and City Clerk. These positions are Council appointed and Council sets the salary and the ranges are only a guideline.


Mayor ProTem Lorenzo said there appears to be a discrepancy in terms of the average salary. The information provided tonight states $64,601 and the previous revised schedule reads the average as $57, 423. Which is the correct figure? Ms. Gronlund-Fox stated the correct figure is $64,601. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo commented the salary range that has been proposed at the higher end is higher than what the City is paying the current City Clerk. It has to be a Council decision to whether the Council believes the current salary of the Clerk is equitable or if this Council wants to increase the range. She stated after looking at the criteria she would not increase the salary at this point in time.


Member Crawford said he does not agree or disagree with Mayor ProTem Lorenzo but believes there are a lot of important factors besides population. It should not be the determining factor in the selection because many facets should be considered. Mayor Clark pointed out that the sample ad has a salary range that keeps within the present salary. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo commented it reads $66,675 and the range at the high end is higher than what the City is currently paying the Clerk. Member Crawford wanted some clarifications. Mr. Klaver stated the 10% below and 5% above the existing salary is something historically the City did when the salary range was created.


CM-00-01-411: Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To place an advertisement in the appropriate publications for the position of City Clerk


Ms. Gronlund-Fox wanted clarification on the salary range of $57,150-$66,675. Mayor Clark confirmed the range.


Vote on CM-00-01-411: Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas,

DeRoche, Kramer

Nays: None


Member Kramer asked if Council was going to discuss the City Clerk selection process? Mr. Klaver commented if Council wants involvement in the screening process, Council could form a committee or the screening could be done administratively.




Member Csordas recommends and supports that City Administration do the screening. The recommendation dies without support. Member Bononi said the Clerk is a very important position and would not support the staff in the selection or screening process.


Mayor ProTem Lorenzo agrees with Member Bononi and believes Council should select the City Clerk as a whole body.


CM-00-01-412: Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: The process of selecting a City Clerk is to be made by the Council as a body


Member Crawford commented the last City Clerk process was a three-member panel of Council. The panel looked at all the applications, conducted the interview and narrowed the margin and then recommended to Council for a final determination. Member Kramer said there is some merit involving the staff but believes several persons should be involved in an advisory capacity.


Member DeRoche does not believe this should be done administratively because the City Clerk position is created by City Charter and has to report directly to Council. The Charter should be honored but if there were Council members to volunteer to screen the applicants he would support those members and trust their judgment.


Mayor Clark commented the process used for the City Manger has worked very well, but the City Clerk position may not generate as much interest. The process is time consuming but it is the responsibility of Council and he does not feel comfortable with others handling the process.


Member Kramer supports any reasonable process but he does have a problem with the technical side of the position and the accessibility to assess that. He requests that Council meet with the current Clerk or get some recommendations on how Council should address the assessment. Mayor Clark commented Council is astute enough to hire a Manger, he believes Council could figure out what is needed for the Clerk position. However, Council is open to receive input. Mr. Klaver said he would be meeting with the current Clerk to get some guidelines that would help with the solicitation of questions for the candidate interviews. The same process would be done, which is giving Council a list of applicants that meet the minimal qualifications along with applicants not meeting the criteria so if there was a difference of opinion it could be reviewed. Member Crawford commented the motion is to follow the same process as City Manager, which includes what Mr. Klaver has suggested and it would include Ms. Gronlund-Fox.


CM-00-01-412: Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,


Nays: None


Mayor ProTem Lorenzo commented on the issue in which Mr. Klaver’s memo states in addition to the job posting to all current City Clerks he would recommend Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. She would like to see it posted to City Clerks and Deputy City Clerks. Mr. Klaver said with Council’s input, is to send a job announcement. The job announcements would be posted on bulletin boards that would be visible for all staff. Mayor ProTem Lorenzo wanted to make sure Deputy Clerk is included. Member Crawford agrees with Mayor ProTem Lorenzo.




Asa Smith asked Council if he could have a list of the candidates along with their residence. Mayor Clark again named Richard Helwig of Dublin, Ohio; James W. Pierce from Davenport, Iowa; Bill Richards, Jr. from Northville and Mark Vanderpool from Skokie, Illinois. He asked Council to give a welcome to all of the candidates.


Jim Korte hopes after the SAD Twelve Mile and all of the things that developed along the corridor, he hopes the developers in the City are finally being able to get it through their heads that the gravy train for the development, commercial oriented, is no longer going to be given. The roads do need improvements but it has to be the roads that the average Novi resident uses. The residents need to have roads throughout the City to get where they want to go. The north end has West Park Drive. It took 10 years and it still does not function in the way to benefit him or his neighbors. The road is not being used and there is a legal way of accomplishing that.


Mr. Korte commented M-5 takes all the traffic off of 8 Mile Road and dumps it in his front yard. Nothing has been done on 13 Mile or 14 Mile. He is upset at the City for taking all of the north end and the south corridor and dumping in front of him.


Jonathan Brateman wanted to speak on the road bond. Mayor Clark asked if he is going to be present at the next meeting dealing with the road bonds? Mr. Brateman said he would be happy to speak at that time.


Mary Muller of 45460 Addington Lane wanted to address Council concerning the City Manager issue. She encourages Council to beware if any red flags go up because it could be very significant. The process is very critical and Council should not settle on a candidate but be positive and start the process over if it becomes necessary.






There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.




________________________________ _____________________________

Richard J. Clark, Mayor Nancy Reutter, Deputy Clerk




Transcribed by: Melissa H. Place


Date approved: February 7, 2000