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Township manager’s contract reviewed

December 4, 2009
By JOHN PEPIN Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard is expected to remain working for the township through next year.

Earlier this year, Girard said he was exploring employment opportunities elsewhere, but wanted to remain in Marquette where he has been living for the past 42 years.

Girard said previously he had wanted a contingency, unsure of his future with the township after the township board was reconfigured by the former supervisor's September resignation and the replacement of the board clerk and two trustees in a November recall election.

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The board members were recalled for their support of a now shelved water system improvement project, which Girard also backed.

In August, Girard declined a job offer from downstate Leelanau County. He had been one of four finalists for the position.

Girard's contract with the township was created in 2002 and has been amended several times since then. His contract expires Dec. 31, 2010.

This week, township Supervisor Dennis Liimatta brought Girard's contract before the board so new members could be familiarized with its terms.

Some members of the public have been concerned about a recent change to Girard's contract, which was adopted by the township board before the recall election.

That board, in September, discussed Girard's contract and job performance in closed session, which is allowable under meeting rules.

After receiving performance evaluation ratings ranging from "good" to "consistently performs above requirements," the board voted 5-2 to increase the amount of severance pay Girard would receive if he was fired.

Trustee Lyn Durant and Treasurer Ernest Johnson dissented. The new terms give Girard a full year's salary as severance, increased from three months.

Girard said this week that at the time, the board did not want him to keep looking for contingency job opportunities.

"I agreed not to if the board agreed to give me some stability and they did," Girard said.

During the contract review this week, the board briefly discussed the terms, but took no action to make further changes.

Next September, Girard is scheduled to announce whether he would like to have his contract renewed with the township. His next performance review is slated for May.

"Hopefully, everybody now has a basic understanding of this contract," Liimatta said.

Township resident Carol Huempfner spoke during public comment, asking the board to terminate Girard or not renew his contract.

"Change can be refreshing and new," she said.

She said she and several residents, some of whom showed their hands in support at the meeting, were dissatisfied with Girard as the township's manager.

Huempfner said she wanted a legal opinion on whether Girard's contract terms were amended legally. She said Girard has been rude to some members of the public and altered minutes before board approval.

None of the township board members made similar statements, nor remarks about Huempfner's comments during the contract discussion at the meeting.



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