After a nearly yearlong search and six weeks of contract negotiations Monday night the Bay City Board of Commissioners took the final vote needed to approve Richard Finn as the new city manager.
"It's exciting, I'm looking forward to it," commented Finn.
While Finn expressed his excitement, residents like Doug Griffiths are a bit more apprehensive. He and others voiced concerns to the board about the city manager's initial contract, which included a $120,000 yearly salary. That's $30,000 more than the previous city manager's salary, and some wonder if the city can even afford to pay that much.
"We have a lot of trouble in this town. We have water mains breaking. We have sewage problems. We have terrible roads that need to be fixed. There doesn't seem to be any money for that. We laid off firefighters. There wasn't money for that, but we have money to give this man," stated Griffiths.
But others, like former commissioner Dennis Banaszak, support the decision. He says Bay City needs a leader with a proven track record of addressing those issues and turning cities around. And he says that doesn't come cheap.
"This man has more experience than the last four managers we've had combined. As such, he can lead us. He can get all the staff pulling together in one direction as a team. As we see our revenue starting to improve, then we start looking at how we can rebuild this city," said Banaszak.
Finn has served as city manager of four other cities. He will relocate to Bay City from New York state, bringing with him 30 years of experience. Finn agreed to reduce his salary to $115,000 a year as a sign of good faith and says he's ready to prove that he's worth every penny.
"If I am as successful as I have been in other communities, I will more than pay for my salary and benefits many times over," added Finn.
Finn's first day on the job is set for March 17.
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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