A new wrinkle has developed in Oxford Village’s search for a manager as a key member of the team that’s currently filling the administrative void is leaving a month earlier than anticipated.
Village Clerk/Treasurer Susan Nassar will be calling it quits on June 1 as opposed to June 30, which was the original plan.
When asked why, she cited “personal reasons” and left it at that.
Since April 1, Nassar, who’s worked for the village since 2011, has been temporarily handling many of manager’s tasks and responsibilities as the municipality searches for a new top administrator.
Joe Young, who had served as manager since June 2004, was fired by council in a 3-2 vote during a Feb. 23 special meeting that lasted approximately six minutes. No reason was given for the termination, but none needed to be since Young was an at-will employee. He’s now the village manager for Lake Orion.
Council, following a March 28 closed session, approved a three-month employment agreement with Nassar to stay on during the manager search, instead of retiring as she had originally planned to do.
The agreement expires June 30, but it does afford both Nassar and the village the right to terminate it “at any time and for any reason,” provided written notice is given at least 14 days in advance. “I gave that to them probably on May 8, so they had more than the two weeks,” Nassar told this reporter.
In light of Nassar’s impending departure, village attorney Bob Davis informed council the manager committee, of which he is a member, will have to speed up its search process.
“We’re just accelerating the program a little to meet the new deadlines,” he said. “But we’ll get there.”
Davis told council 13 resumes for the manager position have been received.
Times are good, so “it hasn’t been easy to find qualified people,” he said.
The committee has “weeded it down to” five candidates with whom it will have “preliminary discussions,” according to Davis.
“Formal interviews won’t happen,” according to the attorney, until a candidate “is presented to the council as a whole.”
“We’re just screening as the committee was directed to do,” he said.
Councilman Erik Dolan encouraged the committee to “seek the right candidate at all costs” and not “react” to the “potential time crunch” posed by Nassar’s looming departure.
“The committee did decide (it) would go with temporary management before hiring the wrong manager,” Davis assured. “We’ll go with temporary, qualified help before we hire the wrong person for the wrong reason.”
Dolan also noted that he’s not interested in interviewing any candidates who were rejected by the committee.
“I feel if a candidate has initially been screened out, it would not behoove the council to take a second look at (someone who) was originally deemed unfit,” he said. “I think if any candidate is screened out for any (reason) whatsoever, we should move on . . . and wait for the appropriate candidate.”
“Some of them that we weeded out, they just don’t have the qualifications. They just want a job,” Davis explained. “We do have a handful that are qualified.”
Davis told this reporter the search committee is looking into, as a temporary measure, the possibility of hiring a firm called Vettraino Consulting. It’s owned by Jaymes Vettraino, Rochester’s former city manager.
“He came recommended to us by Birmingham, Troy, Berkley and Southfield,” the attorney said.
According to Davis, the firm could provide the village with an interim manager and help find applicants for the job who best fit the municipality’s needs.