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Ann Arbor officials hope for stability as new town hall chief’s contract finalized

ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor has finalized a contract to hire a new temporary city administrator, a move officials hope will help stabilize town hall after recent controversy.

City council unanimously voted to approve an 11-month employment contract with Milton Dohoney on Tuesday evening October 12.

The contract makes Dohoney, who was most recently deputy city manager of Phoenix, the interim city administrator of Ann Arbor until September 2022, and possibly January 2023 with an option to extend for four months.

“I am very excited for this new era,” said Ali Ramlawi board member D-5th Ward, adding that he was counting the hours until Dohoney started up, bringing the stability, experience and maturity that the city needs in times of challenge.

Council member Jeff Hayner, D-1st Ward, has said he expects Dohoney to help “get this train back on track.”

Deputy city administrator John Fournier served as interim administrator after council decided in July to part ways with city administrator Tom Crawford following an independent investigation into allegations Crawford made insensitive remarks about race, gender and sexual orientation.

Fournier is now the subject of an independent investigation launched by the city in response to charges of harassment, discrimination and illegal directives. It is the latest in a series of investigations involving senior city officials.

Fournier said he did not believe the charges made by the city’s human resources director would be deemed credible.

The Mayor of Ann Arbor announced a big pay raise for the administrator who is currently under investigation

It is fortunate that the city will soon have Dohoney “to right this ship,” Ramlawi said at a recent meeting.

Dohoney brings decades of experience in municipal government in Arizona, Ohio and Kentucky, including eight years as city manager of Cincinnati before moving to Phoenix, where he spent the seven last years.

The contract approved Tuesday night gives Dohoney an annual salary of $ 223,600, plus $ 2,500 for transitional housing as he moves from Arizona. He is expected to start working remotely on October 18 and in person on October 25.

Under the contract, Dohoney will receive a monthly cell phone allowance, health insurance, a city vehicle for use in the Ann Arbor area, and travel reimbursement. He will start with two weeks of vacation in the bank and accumulate leave at the same rate as regular non-union municipal employees.

The contract also provides for reimbursement to Dohoney at an hourly rate of $ 107.50 for time spent familiarizing himself with Ann Arbor matters before starting work.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have the opportunity to benefit from the experience, expertise and skills of Mr. Dohoney,” said Mayor Christopher Taylor, expressing confidence that all who pass him will know that the city ​​is in good hands.

Council members and city staff have a lot to learn from Dohoney, Taylor added.

Council members praised city attorney Stephen Postema for helping recruit Dohoney, while Taylor also thanked Fournier for replacing the city administrator in recent months.

Dohoney “exceeds all my expectations,” said Kathy Griswold, board member, D-2nd Ward.

Council member Julie Grand, from Ward D-3, expressed confidence that Dohoney aligns with the city’s values ​​and will help advance city initiatives.

In addition to ongoing initiatives such as the city’s A2Zero carbon neutrality and affordable housing efforts, Dohoney will inherit challenges such as a structural budget deficit and municipal unions’ backlash on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Ramlawi expressed hope that Dohoney could stay longer than his mere tenure as an interim administrator.

City officials have discussed starting a comprehensive search for a new full-time city administrator sometime in 2022.

Including Howard Lazarus, who was fired as city administrator last year, Crawford, who was chosen to replace Lazarus, then acting administrator by Fournier and Craig Hupy, the public services administrator of town, Dohoney will be the fifth person to serve in the role since last year.

Ann Arbor has a weak mayor form of government in which the administrator manages the day-to-day operations of the city, following policy directions set by the mayor and council.


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