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Ishpeming City Council approves city manager employment contract

CUGINI

ISHPEMING — After nearly six months, Ishpeming is expected to have a new city manager in place by the beginning of February.

The Ishpeming City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an employment agreement with Craig Cugini, who currently works as the deputy garrison commander at Fort Greely, Alaska.

Interim City Manager Steve Snowaert said Mayor Mike Tonkin would sign the agreement following Wednesday’s meeting. The agreement will then be emailed to Cugini for his signature.

“I expect him to sign it,” Snowaert said in an interview following the meeting. “We will get that back and he will be able to notify his employer that he does have a signed contract. He can’t give final dates until he has a signed contract to his (current) employer.”

Cugini has over 25 years of government service, according to his resume, and his current position at Fort Greely is “analogous to public sector city manager or city administrator in terms of running operations and infrastructure and programs.”

His starting salary will be $83,000 the first year and increase to $85,000 in the second year, Snowaert said. The contract also includes a $300-per-month vehicle allowance, and a one-time $10,000 allowance for relocation, Snowaert said.

“It’s an indefinite contract,” Snowaert said. “It doesn’t say it’s two years, but it’s written like it’s two. But basically the wording says it’s indefinite.”

City Councilor Pat Scanlon, who along with Snowaert and City Councilor Lindsay Bean helped to negotiate with Cugini to craft the employment agreement, said Cugini is a good fit for the city.

“I would highly recommend that we execute the agreement and get him on board. I think we should be in really good shape,” Scanlon said.

Bean said she was also impressed Cugini had the transition from Alaska to Michigan over the next few months mapped out and organized.

“I was impressed with how ordered his personal affairs in life appeared to be,” Bean said, “and if that’s any representation of how (he) will conduct his professional life, I feel very comfortable (with him.)”

Snowaert said finding a replacement for former manager Mark Slown, who stepped down on June 6 due to health reasons, has been an arduous process for city officials, but Cugini is the right choice.

“I think it’s been a long process for the city. It’s been since June since Mark Slown left, and I think the city has found a very competent, qualified individual to take over as city manager,” Snowaert said. “I think we are very happy with (the council’s) choice.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.