By Jim Newell
LAKE ORION — The Lake Orion Village Council voted unanimously to form a three-member committee to search for an interim village manager while current village manager Joe Young is absent from work.
The decision came during the council’s meeting on Monday, which Young did not attend. Young typically attends meetings to provide council members with information and answer questions.
Village officials did not disclose why Young was absent, but one council member did allude to possible health issues. Young, who is in his seventies, became village manager in the spring of 2017.
Village Council President Ken Van Portfliet said Young has not resigned but that the village needs to have someone present in the village office to help with responsibilities.
“I spoke to the village manager and he agreed that some additional assistance is warranted,” Van Portfliet said. “An interim (manager) is typically to help. These are people that have put their resumes out there, that are looking to step in for a short term.”
Van Portfliet recommended appointing council members Teresa Rutt, Jerry Narsh and Bradley Mathisen to the committee. Council members Sarah Luchsinger and Doug Hobbs had volunteered to be on the committee. Van Portfliet said they could be alternates.
Council did not take action on his recommendations, and Council Member Michael Lamb put forth a new motion to have Rutt, Luchsinger and Hobbs on the search committee. That motion passed 6-1 with Mathisen casting the lone “nay” vote.
Van Portfliet said the committee will look at candidates’ qualifications, salary requirements and availability to start.
“Another bonus would be proximity, because some of them do not live close,” he said, adding he wants to get the interim manager onboard “ASAP.”
“They will be doing interviews and providing a recommendation to the council,” Van Portfliet said.
When asked who was in charge of the village’s day-to-day activities, Van Portfliet said “It’s actually been teamwork. We did not expect this to happen and it’s been good teamwork between the chief of police, the DPW director, and the clerk.”
Van Portfliet added that he’s in regular communication with those department heads while Young is off work.
“We need some additional support there, in the office. With Joe being out it has created additional burdens on everybody to take on a portion of the duties, and we could use the help right now,” Van Portfliet said.
The council previously hired former village manager Darwin McClary, an independent contractor, for “Municipal Consulting and Administrative Services” to assist Young with administrative duties. The hiring came during a 10-minute special meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 24, 2021 and council agreed to pay McClary $70 per hour for his services, up to 20 hours per week.
McClary no longer assists with village duties and has full time employment in another municipality, Van Portfliet said.
By Jim Newell