Three to be invited for second round of interviews on July 8

IMLAY CITY — Marine City Manager Elaine Leven is the latest candidate to express interest in the now-vacant Imlay City manager’s position.

Leven, who has served as Marine City’s manager since 2015, was interviewed on Tuesday, June 23 by Imlay City Commissioners, bringing the number of candidates seeking to succeed Tom Youatt, who retired on June 30, to three.

Others interviewed include Lapeer County Chief Financial Officer Craig Horton and City of Burton Chief of Staff Rik Hayman.

Leven, who has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Oakland University, had previously served as Executive Assistant to the Oakland Township Manager from 2005-2014.

Leven has been a member of the Board of Directors of Michigan Municipal Executives since 2016; and is currently Chairperson of the Emergency Management Advisory Board for St. Clair County Homeland Security.

A resident of Clay Township, Leven feels the time is right to explore other opportunities and considers Imlay City to be the ideal place to apply her skills and knowledge.

“I’m excited about Imlay City because it’s like the towns I grew up in,” Leven said. “I also feel my skills can be better utilized in a community like Imlay City.”

In response to questions from commissioners, Leven expressed comfort with her grant writing abilities, community relations and in dealing with municipal staff, department heads and elected city officials.

“I believe it’s important to be honest and straight-forward,” she said. “It’s about working together. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but I will respect the opinions and decisions of the board.”

In regard to expected pandemic-related revenue cuts, potential budget shortfalls and other unforeseen financial challenges, Leven said all municipalities will need to be cautious about future spending.

“We’re all going to be taking a good look at our revenues and expenditures,” she said. “It may be necessary to hold back the reins on spending and focus primarily on only necessary spending.”

Second interviews

Following Leven’s interview, city commissioners agreed to set aside the evening of Wednesday, July 8 to conduct second interviews with Horton, Hayman and Leven.

The interviews are tentatively scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with each interview to be staggered and expected to take 20-30 minutes.

Background checks

Mayor Joi Kempf said that rather than tasking Police Chief Scott Pike with conducting background and reference checks of the three candidates, as had been discussed earlier, the city will now utilize the services of American Society of Employers (ASE).

She noted that the Michigan Municipal League, whose website the city used to post the manager’s job opening, also utilizes ASE’s services.

“They will do it all for us,” Kempf said. “I feel the process is going well. We want to get the very best fit for Imlay City—and in a timely fashion.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.