Reed City council member resigns

REED CITY — Citing a feeling of uselessness to the City of Reed City, council member Phil Rathbun announced his resignation at Monday’s council meeting.

Two hours into the meeting, Rathbun – whose term expires at the end of 2014 – went to the center of the room and addressed the council before leaving the meeting.

“I feel I’m no longer useful to the City of Reed City and I resign immediately,” Rathbun said.

According to the city’s charter, a council member’s resignation must be submitted to the clerk in writing, and voted on by the council. Rathbun’s resignation is not official until it is submitted and has garnered council approval.

At past meetings, Rathbun had suggested he was considering resignation, stating his declining health was limiting him. He has a history of service to the city, including holding the city manager’s position years ago.

If Rathbun’s resignation is submitted to the clerk and approved by council, Mayor Bonnie Danzeisen will appoint a replacement to fill the vacant spot at the council table until the 2014 election.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a motion authorizing Danzeisen to enter into an agreement with Ron Howell, of RMH Associates in Cedar Springs. Howell will serve as a part-time interim city manager, filling a seat left vacant when Ron Marek left the position after announcing his resignation at the council’s September meeting. Howell would serve as an independent contractor and not exceed 24 hours a week, with his pay level still being negotiated.

“We had a committee meeting and interviewed two candidates,” Danzeisen reported. “The consensus of the committee was to offer the position to Ron Howell. He has extensive experience.” Councilman Roger Meinert, who served on the interview committee with Danzeisen, said when Howell was asked if he would be interested in pursuing the city manager’s position full-time, he suggested the position could remain a permanent part-time position.

“He indicated he wanted to continue on a part-time basis,” Meinert said. Also at the meeting, Danzeisen appointed three council members to a search committee to select a permanent city manager. Councilmembers Dave Scharlow, Roger Meinert and Karen McKinney will serve on the search committee along with Danzeisen.

The council’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Reed City City Hall.