Manager candidate withdraws from
consideration, then reverses course
ALMONT — The Almont Village Council has narrowed down their search for a new village manager. After reviewing eight applications, and interviewing their top three choices, the council voted 5-2 to offer one of the finalists, Susan Brockmann of Bruce Township, a second interview. President Pro-Tem Tim Dyke and Council member Melinda Steffler were opposed to the motion.
Brockmann withdrew as a candidate on Dec. 30 and then reversed course, asking to remain under consideration for the job again on January 5. The other two finalists are April Baggerow and Cory Spackey.
The council spent much of their January 5 meeting, which is available on the Village Council’s YouTube page, discussing Brockmann’s background check.
“In the past, with other village managers, has it always been this detailed?” Council member James Aleck asked, regarding the depth of the background check.
Council President Steve Schneider explained that this report far surpassed the depth of background checks in the past. Almont Police Chief Andrew Martin clarified that background checks have been improved due to training. He reassured the council that the more detailed background check was an improvement over past procedures.
“When I became chief, I noticed there was a gaping hole in the way that we conduct background investigations. I sent three people to certified Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards training to do background investigations. That is why our background checks are so detailed. I think my officers did an outstanding job in what they did and who they talked to. We were asked to do a job and that’s exactly what we did,” Martin said.
The same day that Brockmann’s background check was delivered to council members, she withdrew her application for consideration. The report was reported to contain more than 100 pages. She has since indicated she’s still interested in the job.
President Pro-Tem Dyke was very firm in his opinion that Brockmann is not an adequate candidate.
“She withdrew (her application) less than five hours after the background check was put into our mailboxes and now is trying to decide to come back. I don’t think at this point she’s a viable candidate. I think we need to restart the process,” he said.
Dyke was also appreciative for the detailed background check.
“I think the background check went as deep as it needed to. The drama that this process has brought…if the drama is happening this heavy at the level of going into a second interview, I don’t want to bring that kind of drama into our office.”
Council member Steffler agreed with Dyke.
“I’m a hiring manager myself in my position. Based upon the candidate and based upon what you learn, there are different degrees of people you would contact in order to check references and work experience. I do support that a thorough background check was appropriate. Imagine doing less, not doing our due diligence, that puts the village at a liability,” she said.
Council member Aleck supported scheduling a second interview with Brockmann.
“We definitely need to meet with her, but I also feel that we don’t need to wait until the next meeting to meet with her, if we can do it sooner,” he said.
President Schneider questioned Brockmann’s contact with Martin saying, “she had requested a copy of that background check from our police chief, and there has never been a response.”
Martin responded to this concern saying, “In reference to the FOIA request, that you said Mrs. Brockmann was requesting, it was an unredacted copy. I, in turn, sent that FOIA request over to our village attorney, and verified that I am correct, and I am not allowed to give out an unredacted report. It’s the law. I contacted Mrs. Brockmann and informed her of this.” Chief Martin clarified that the only information redacted in the report would be
such as addresses
and social security
Steffler was hopeful that the council can resume the search for an ideal candidate.
“My review of the candidate’s application and background information leads me to believe that we need to widen our search, and repost the position. The applicant is more than welcome to reapply. I don’t feel that we had enough qualified and good candidates to consider. I think it is very important that we carefully select this candidate,” she said.
President Schneider, replied to Steffler, saying “You want her to go through this again, seriously?”
Council member Jackie Calka made a motion to offer a second interview to Brockmann, suggesting that the council will “do an in-person interview and if we need to, then widen our search.”
Her motion was supported by Wayne Glasser who felt the need to let the candidate at least defend herself.
The council will meet in person for
their next meeting on January 19 if changes
in the Governor’s Executive Order allows for in-person meetings. If they can conduct their meeting in person,
they plan to interview Brockmann at that
time. If the meeting
is required to be held virtually, the council will discuss their plan for a second interview
at that time.