Ludington to consider asking voters to allow council to appoint clerk, treasurer

June 22, 2015

Council to consider changing manager’s term.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Ludington City Council is going to be presented four ordinance change requests during its regular meeting tonight. The requests must be placed on the ballot because they are amendments to the city’s charter.

Among the proposed changes, which come from the city’s buildings and licenses committee, would be for the city clerk and treasurer to no longer be elected by the people but rather appointed by city council. This is a topic that was brought up several years ago as well.

The city council is also being asked to consider eliminating the one-year term for the city manager’s contract; changing the requirement that the budget presentation be held at the second council meeting in November rather than the first council meeting in November and clarify that the city manager has authority to make emergency repairs without prior council approval.

City Manager John Shay explained, in a memo to city council, that both the clerk and treasurer have numerous responsibilities and duties which require a high level of skills and qualifications.

The city charter currently states that a person wishing to run for election of either position shall have the following qualifications: must be a registered voter in the city; must be a resident of the city for at least one year immediately prior to the last day of filing original petitions for such office, or prior to the time of the appointment to fill a vacancy; must not be in default to the city.

“Due to the complex and skilled nature of these positions, the elected officials of the city council, rather than the voters, would hire the clerk and treasurer based on the candidates’ experience, qualifications, education and knowledge,” Shay’s memo stated. “Like any other similar professional position, the city council could also remover a clerk or treasurer if they did not perform their job duties in a satisfactory manner.

“Absent a recall election, the voters in the City of Ludington would continue to elect the clerk and treasurer every four years as they have for many previous years. The candidates for these positions may or may not have experience, qualifications, education and knowledge to successfully perform the duties of these positions.”

The council will also be asked to change the city manager’s contract term from one year to five years.

“The city manager serves at the pleasure of the city council,” Shay wrote in a memo. “Whether the city manager receives a one year contract or a multi-year contract, the city council may terminate the city manager at any time pursuant to Section 10.1(b) of the city charger. The one year term may discourage qualified applicants from applying for this position, as few may want to take the risk of switching jobs, buying a new house and relocating his/her family to Ludington if the city council can merely choose not to renew the city manager’s contract after one year.

City council meets at 6:30 p.m. at city hall, 400 South Harrison Street.

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