Scottville city manager, Jimmy Newkirk, resigns

April 24, 2024

Jimmy Newkirk

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville City Manager Jimmy Newkirk has resigned. Newkirk sent an email to the city commission and city attorney Tuesday evening announcing his resignation.

“Effective immediately, I am resigning as the City Manager for the City of Scottville,” Newkirk stated in the resignation letter. “I am not going to engage in what essentially has become a witch hunt to force dismissal by the City Commission. Things have gotten way out of hand in my opinion, and it has become clear that the commission leadership is willing to sacrifice another city manager in favor of city staff.”

In an interview today with MCP, Newkirk said that relations between himself, several city commissioners and city staff has deteriorated over the last several months.

“I think the leadership of the city commission and I have different opinions on how to get to where we believe the city should be. We pretty much want to get to the same result but we are on different roads.”

Newkirk said he has had a challenge supervising some employees who have not followed the line of supervisor as directed by the city charter.

“Though we just ratified a contract with the union, which, along with the charter, establishes that I am the direct supervisor of the staff, many employees have continued the practice of bypassing the city manager and airing complaints and concerns directly to commissioners,” Newkirk said. “That’s been a practice for quite some time, that predates myself.”

Newkirk said he is proud of some of the accomplishments he has overseen as city manager, which has included reclaiming water loss by replacing outdated water meters, working on and getting approve for an $8.7 million grant to replace water mains on the northwest side of the city, replacing a 90 year old water main in the downtown, establishing an independent brownfield authority cooperatively with the City of Ludington, changing the parking in downtown, moving city investments into higher interest bearing accounts, overseeing a brownfield agreement with the new Dollar General store, passing a recreational and medical marijuana sales and growing ordinance, improving parts of Riverside Park, updating the city’s accounting software, and outsourcing zoning and ordinance.

“We recently have made significant investments in the police department with several equipment purchases which has including purchasing a police truck,” Newkirk said. “We also recently purchased a new DPW truck and a hot patch asphalt trailer.”

“I think I’ve helped helped be a part of some major improvements to this city,” Newkirk said. “But, the present city staff disagrees with the direction we are taking the city. I am proud of the work I have done and also proud that I have been the only city employee who has resided in the city limits of Scottville.”

Mayor Marcy Spencer said the focus of the city commission will now be to find an interim city manager and an eventual replacement.

“The city commission’s goal will be to keep the city functioning by appointing someone to serve as acting city manager,” Spencer said. “Over the last two manager searches we have had a challenge finding a variety of qualified candidates. We have a small city with a limited budget.”

The city manager’s current salary is about $75,000 per year, which is on the lower pay scale for municipal managers, but higher than some. Pere Marquette Township supervisor, an elected position, pays about $73,000. The Pentwater village manager position was most recently at $85,000.

Newkirk was hired in May 2021 under a one year contract. That contract was renewed unanimously by the city commission for two more years. The most recent contract was set to expire and Newkirk and the commission have been negotiated the new terms, Newkirk said. He said a proposed renewed contract was presented to him and he had been working with his personal attorney on a rebuttal.

According to Newkirk, he is currently owed 248.7 hours of paid time off and 10 hours of compensated time, about six weeks’ wages.


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