WILLIAMSTON – Longtime treasurer and Williamston resident Alan Dolley was selected as the new city manager Wednesday Feb. 15, by a 5-2 vote at a special city council session.
Dolly has been acting city manager since the retirement of Tim Allard on Jan. 15. Allard served as city manager for nearly three years.
A motion by Council Member Michelle Van Wert, seconded by Council Member Ben Stiffler, to appoint Pete Porciello, a Michigan Department of Transportation employee and Williamston resident, as city manager was voted down after discussion.
The motion received support from only Van Wert and Stiffler.
Before the vote Stiffler, who voted for both candidates, said that both candidates have met criteria and either would make an outstanding city manager.
In response to concern by Council Member Michael Moody about Porciello’s qualifications, Van Wert said: “(Porciello’s) qualifications are over the top, he is highly regarded regionally and at state and federal levels of government. And to say that he is not qualified or to say that he couldn’t hit the ground running is unfortunate, because I believe he can.”
Immediately after the first vote, Council Member Sandy Whelton made a motion to go into negotiations with Dolley for the position.
Van Wert expressed concerns about selecting Dolley. She said that he has acknowledged that he does not have experience with grants and that he does not like to respond to people. She added that both are important things for the city manager to deal with.
Council Member Randy Pail later said that (Dolley) is qualified to do the job and the council should give him the job.
Council Member Scott Vanallsburg voted against both candidates, saying that he didn’t buy into the notion of appointing someone local and that getting someone from the outside would be good for the city because that person would be above local politics.
Van Wert also voted against going into contract negotiations with Dolley.
“There have been concerns raised with (Dolley’s) responsiveness, even recently with contracts, meeting the contract wage for an employee,” said Van Wert after the meeting. “Those issues need to be addressed immediately and when they’re not it raises a level of concern. I hope we can move forward and resolve those issues.”
In the end, Van Wert said that she is happy to be working with Dolley and that he is a quality person.