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Seeking applicants: Chocolay Township Board accepts Kangas’ resignation

Chocolay Township resident Deborah Mulcahey addresses the Chocolay Township Board during public comment at a special meeting in the Chocolay Township Hall Tuesday. The board voted to approve a letter of resignation from Township Manager Jon Kangas. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

MARQUETTE — Chocolay Township will be seeking a new township manager.

The township board voted unanimously to accept Jon Kangas’ letter of resignation at a special meeting on Tuesday and, in a separate vote, set a July 30 deadline to apply for the position.

Township Trustee Judy White said the township has benefited from Kangas’ leadership.

“I understand and I support you in your future endeavors,” White said. “We are sorry to see you go.”

Kangas accepted a position as the Marquette Township superintendent of public works effective July 18.

He will replace outgoing Superintendent of Public Works Kirk Page who is set to retire Dec. 31.

Kangas said the position in Marquette Township is “an exciting opportunity for me to return to my roots in public works.”

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Kangas said of leaving Chocolay Township. “It’s the community where I live. I was hoping to be here long-term to help guide the community in a positive direction.”

Kangas’ last day as Chocolay Township manager will be Sept. 15 due to a 90-day separation clause in his employment contract.

“I would assume the 90-day separation clause in my contract is specifically to accommodate this process,” Kangas told the board, “to allow a little bit of overlap before I exit service.”

The job listing calls for each applicant to have a bachelor’s degree in public administration, engineering or equivalent background. Three years’ experience in public sector management also is required.

The board agreed, by consensus, that reducing the position to part-time should not be considered, due to a variety of factors.

“I think it should be full time,” Trustee Mark Maki said. “We have a sewer project going on for the next year and a half.”

Trustee Don Rhein said a full-time position would draw more of a potential employee pool.

“If we go part-time, too, we could lose our candidates,” Rhein said. “A lot of people want a full-time job versus part-time job.”

During public comment, township resident Deborah Mulcahey said the position of township manager has progressed over the years. She cautioned the board to take a more active role in addressing residents’ concerns.

“We had no manager when I first moved here, then we had a manager three days a week and then we had a full-time. What do we really need? Regardless, going forward, the time that a seasoned or non-seasoned manager has to spend on issues continues to take a lot of their time when issues are not addressed. So, I ask you to move on and make decisions about issues,” Mulcahey said.

The township manager is responsible for “management of the overall function of the township” at the direction of the township board. He or she would be responsible for administering the annual budget and preparing contracts as well as exercising general supervision over all departments and direct supervision over support staff.

The posting is expected to be advertised in The Mining Journal and listed with the Michigan Townships Association, officials said. Other efforts to advertise the position may also be employed.

A full job description of the position is expected to be available on the Chocolay Township website at chocolaytownship.org later this week.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.