Reed City hires new city manager

Ron Howell retires, Rich Saladin accepts position

Reed City city manager Ron Howell is stepping down after seven years of service. (Herald Review file photo)

Reed City city manager Ron Howell is stepping down after seven years of service. (Herald Review file photo)

REED CITY — Reed City city manager Ron Howell is stepping down effective Sept. 1, after seven years of service.

He will contract with the city in a consulting position for 30 days to ensure a smooth transition.

“I still live in Cedar Springs and drive up three days a week and for special meetings,” Howell told the Herald Review. “So much is happening in Reed City, and council misses having the city manager and family living in the area to be more public and part of the community activities. I totally understand that and that is why I am stepping down.”

In addition, he said that he is turning 73 this year and feels that it is time to retire.

Howell began his career with the city in 2013 when he was contracted to serve as a part-time interim city manager following the resignation of Ron Marek. Following his three-month interim service, he was contracted as the permanent part time city manager.

“I am so grateful to Reed City for giving me the opportunity to be their city manager,” Howell said. “Managing the day-to-day functions of the city has been a real joy because of the amazing employees Reed City has. They work so hard to keep everything running smoothly. In addition, so many different people are stepping forward with ideas and projects. It will be a busy time.”

Reed City Mayor Roger Meinert thanked Howell for his years of service during a recent special council meeting.

“You led us through a transition period where we needed strong experience and leadership, and you have served us extremely well,” Meinert said. “I don’t think we would be here today if you had not helped get us here, and we thank you for that.”

Reed City resident Rich Saladin was offered a contract to serve as city manager beginning Sept. 1 during the special council meeting.

“In hiring a local city manager, it affords us the opportunity to have a visible daily presence and representation of our city,” Meinert said.

The contract is for 25 hours a week, with dedicated office hours three days a week, which will provide for flexibility that will allow Saladin to adjust the schedule as needed.

“My intent is to be in the office almost five days a week,” Saladin told the city council. “I may be at the fire hall, or at DPW. I am going to find out where the needs are at. My goal is to make contact with the office five days a week.”

Meinert said that intention is for the contract to be flexible so that if Saladin has the opportunity to meet with businesses out of the office, or as to be out of town, he is still getting the job done within the contractual 25 hour per week timeframe.

Council also approved a 30-day consulting contract with Howell to provide training and consultation for Saladin during his transition period.

“So, on Sept. 1, he (Saladin) comes in and takes the oath of office, and the roles switch — he becomes the city manager and I become the consultant,” Howell said. “I have prepared things so that we can walk him through this. If Rich feels comfortable and says it has been a fantastic three weeks and he is ready, and he wants to wrap it up at the end of three weeks, that is fine. I will serve his needs.”

Meinert said that he would like Howell to have office hours along with Saladin during the transition period to help him get comfortable with the position and after Sept. 30, utilize the provision in his contract that allows Saladin to call and ask questions.

“In leaving Reed city, I do not just pack up my things and go home,” Howell said in an email. “My contract provides that if the new city manager has a question about an item that I can answer, I will do that at no charge to the city for six months. In addition, I have been clearly told that I have a list of tasks to complete.”