Reed City welcomes interim manager

Prepared for the job: Ron Howell is sworn in as the interim city manager in Reed City. He is taking over after Ron Marek resigned in November.
Prepared for the job: Ron Howell is sworn in as the interim city manager in Reed City. He is taking over after Ron Marek resigned in November.

REED CITY — For the next four months Ron Howell will hold the city manager position in Reed City. Council members will search for a permanent  replacement after the previous manager resigned late last year.

Howell was sworn in on Friday afternoon.

Howell, of Cedar Springs, was hired to replace Ron Marek who submitted his resignation in September after citing a work environment of “division, negativity, disrespect and unprofessional conduct.”

The city council set up a search on the Michigan Municipal League website. Howell was listed on the site as an option for a part-time city manager.

“I put my name out there not really expecting much,” Howell said. “But when I received a call from the Reed City mayor, that was reassuring.”

Howell comes to Reed City with 28 years of experience and has managed eight communities around the state.

“City managers are like sports coaches. We come and go, but work really hard while we are in town,” he said.

Mayor Bonnie Danzeisen, said she is delighted with Howell’s presence.

“I feel confident that he can really help the council get things progressing and moving forward,” said Danzeisen. “He has been through many communities and helped make changes. I am sure he will do the same here. He also was quite local, which was a big selling point for the council.”

Currently, Howell is retired, but runs his own municipal consulting firm.

”With all of his previous experience he has seen great situations and those that are not as great. I hope he can counsel our city council and make us more efficient in all we do,” said Danzeisen.

Howell plans to pick up where Marek left off.

“Reed City is really impressive to me, with the amount of grants and infrastructure projects they have in this economy they seem to be doing well,” Howell said. “I plan on following up on those and closing the deals.”

Howell’s biggest undertaking as interim manager is beginning work on the budget.

“This is something I am going to dive into quite soon,” he said. “The manager is supposed to present it in May, so I want it to be in good shape when I turn it over (to the new manager).”

Howell will be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays without exceeding 24 hours in a week.

“That is the way his contract is set up,” said Danzeisen. “Once we hire a new, permanent manger it will go back to full-time, 40 hours per week.”

Danzeisen and the city council will begin looking for a new permanent replacement soon.

“We are going to put out ads and start the hiring process,” said Danzeisen. “We want to make sure we hire a qualified person to fill in after Ron.”