Council offers city manager candidate job

ISHPEMING — The city manager position in Ishpeming will be offered to a Northern Michigan University alumnus with 25 years of government service.

After conducting interviews with three candidates, the Ishpeming City Council voted unanimously to extend a conditional offer of employment to Craig Cugini, who currently works as deputy garrison commander at the U.S. Army’s Fort Greely in Alaska.

The position of deputy garrison commander is “analogous to public sector city manager or city administrator in terms of running operations and infrastructure and programs,” Cugini’s resume states.

The council’s offer is contingent on an in-depth background and reference check, both of which will be conducted by the Michigan Municipal League and are expected to take seven to 10 days. The council contracted the MML to conduct the management search in August for a fee of $14,000.

The council previously approved draft contract language and a salary ranging from $75,000 to $85,000 for the position.

Councilors cited multiple reasons for choosing Cugini, who comes with a “vast amount of training and education in science, engineering, security, leadership and emergency management and medical services,” according to the candidate’s cover letter.

“I wasn’t thinking about (Cugini) as this candidate is going to come up that is going to push all the buttons, as Mayor (Karl) Lehmann used to say, but (Cugini) did,” Councilor Pat Scanlon said.

Councilor Lindsay Bean agreed, citing Cugini’s demeanor during the interview as well as his credentials.

“Some of the things (he said) that I thought were impressive was ‘taking care of people is what I do’ along with the other things that he’s got,” Bean said. “He’s got extensive reasons for relocating back … and the excitement he conveyed at the end of the interview about the possibility to come here. He said it’s an opportunity for him and an opportunity for us.”

If Cugini accepts the position, signs the contract and passes the background check, a vote of the full council will be required to officially hire him. If that happens, he is expected to start sometime in early January, officials said.

Police Chief Steve Snowaert will act as interim city manager until that time. The city has been seeking a replacement since former manager Mark Slown retired June 6.

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