Scottville commission interviews manager candidates.

April 16, 2021

Scottville commission interviews manager candidates.

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville City Commission interviewed three candidates for the city manager position Thursday, April 15, during a special meeting at the former Scottville Optimist Center. O’Neil James (Jim) Newkirk III of Oscoda, Jessica LaPointe of Branch, and Christopher Frazer of Cass City, each spent about 45 minutes answering questions asked by Mayor Marcy Spencer and Mayor Pro-Tem Rob Alway. 

Jim Newkirk

Newkirk is a native of Scottville and graduated from Mason County Central High School. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science/campaign management from Grand Valley State University, along with a teaching certification in secondary education from Saginaw Valley State University. He also studied history and social studies from Central Michigan University and regional planning at Grand Valley State University. 

He currently works for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a park ranger. According to his resume, he has over 25 years experience teaching and working in public service. 

“I am seeking to relocate to be closer to my family while continuing working within civil service,” he stated in his cover letter. “The opportunity to return and serve my hometown is an opportunity I am quite excited about.

“I know that my proven leadership skills, strong commitment to high ethical and professional standards, and flexibility in devising proactive responses to changing conditions would allow me to make a significant contribution to the City of Scottville team,” he said.

Newkirk said he is well versed in the history of Scottville; his grandmother, June Newkirk, wrote a biography, “Back Home With Ruth”, on pioneer Ruth Falconer, which told the history of the town. Newkirk’s mother, Connie, and grandfather, O’Neil “Boots” Newkirk, were teachers at Mason County Central. His father, O’Neil James Newkirk II, was a teacher at Hart Public Schools. 

Newkirk said one of the most important development issues for Scottville is housing, along with bringing new businesses into town. He said he would take a team approach as city manager and keep an open line of communication with the commission and the rest of the public. He also said he has extensive experience in grant writing and has had a lot of success obtaining grants from the DNR. He is responsible for overseeing several budgets. He added that he had originally studied regional planning while in college. While he hasn’t had actual experience in zoning and planning, he is knowledgeable in those areas. 

Jessica LaPointe

LaPointe is currently the finance and human resources manager for Lake County Road Commission, a job she has held since 2018. Prior to that, she served in that role as an assistant for five years. She has an associate degree in business management from West Shore Community College and a human resources management degree from Baker College. 

“I have been an active member in my community by helping plan and execute many events,” she wrote on her resume. “I have volunteered for the Trout-a-Rama in Lake County, as well as more local events with my community (Carr Settlement).

“I love to volunteer at my children’s schools, Mason County Central Upper Elementary and Middle School.”

LaPointe said industry was the most pressing development issue Scottville faces. She said working for the city would be similar to working for the road commission, stressing that the city manager must follow the policies set forth by the city commission. She said she has experience in budgeting, which is the main function of her current job. She said she did not have experience in zoning or planning but would be willing to learn. She also said her grant writing experience has been limited. She was success in securing a $5,000 grant to create a wellness center at the Lake County Road Commission. 

Christopher Frazer

Frazer has a bachelor of science degree with a major in political science and nonprofit administration from Central Michigan University and plans to complete a master’s degree in public administration in May of this year, also from CMU. 

“I have always been fascinated with the operations of local government,” he stated on his resume. “With this fascination, I decided to work toward and complete an undergraduate degree in political science and work toward a master of public administration degree. I am committed to a career in service to others. I have a passion for serving and strive daily to improve myself and the lives of others.” 

Frazer served as a management assistant with the City of Vassar from October 2020 until February 2021. His other public service experience includes being a legislative aide for Rep. Dan Lauwers of Lansing. 

Frazer said the most pressing development issue in Scottville is downtown and revitalizing businesses. He said, while touring Scottville, none of the businesses downtown stood out to him, making him want to go there. 

He said a good leader/manager should be a good communicator, have compassion and empathy.  

The city manager position has been vacant since January when Courtney Magaluk resigned following an investigation by the commission concerning missing key revenue sharing deadlines. That investigation revealed several state filings that Magaluk had missed. She had held the position since June 2019.

The commission is expected to make a decision on hiring the next city manager during its regular meeting on Monday, April 19, 6:30 p.m. at the former Optimist Center.

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