Former supervisor interviews for manager position

MARQUETTE — The fourth candidate vying for the Marquette Township manager position is a face familiar to many residents and municipal leaders alike.

Former township Supervisor Dennis Liimatta sat for an in-person interview with the Marquette Township Board on Friday.

The board opted not to entertain the question of whether to offer the position to Liimatta, who was hired as the superintendent of Grand Blanc Township in lower Michigan in 2015. He served in the elected Marquette Township supervisor position for six years prior to relocating to Grand Blanc.

Liimatta was initially scheduled to be interviewed with three other candidates for the position on Nov. 23, but removed his name from consideration due to an “unforeseen health issue.”

The board honored his request for confidentiality and ultimately decided to give Liimatta the opportunity to interview for the position Friday.

Following Liimatta’s interview, Trustee Dan Everson made the motion to extend an offer of employment.

“I would like to say we know the candidate. We worked with the candidate for many years. We just had a great interview with the candidate, and in my opinion he scored extremely high grades with me. And, for that reason, I would like to offer him the job,” Everson said. “I think the sooner that we can get this moving, the better. I don’t think there is anyone out there (among) his present employers that would give him a bad mark.

“We can still look into that. So, he’s got different qualifications that he has to make to try to get employed here. So, I think we should just offer him the position today and take a vote on it.”

Everson ultimately withdrew his motion after several other board members expressed concerns, not with the candidate but with the process.

“Maybe because I have interviewed so many people in my lifetime,” Trustee Ernest Johnson said. “I look at everything possible before I make a decision. If you follow through on this here, you are going to have a problem. It’s going to be a legal problem that the others that got turned down could say, ‘Hey, that was a set-up deal.’ That’s why you follow protocol all the way down the line on every candidate. It should be the same thing on any of them. Being a board member I can’t support this because it’s different than we’ve done with other candidates.”

Township Supervisor Lyn Durant said that due to Liimatta’s request for confidentiality, the township was not given any references for his current employer. She asked if any board member would like to request additional references.

Trustee Dave Wiegand said considering Liimatta’s history with Marquette Township, it might be appropriate to get resident feedback before extending an offer of employment.

“I would be comfortable getting some feedback from the residents he worked with in that six years,” Wiegand said. “We did not have that luxury with the other candidates. We strictly had references and resumes.”

Liimatta told the board he would be happy to provide contact information for the Grand Blanc Township supervisor or any other reference requested.

The board will consider whether to make changes to its current manager employment contract during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. During that same meeting, the board is expected to set a special meeting later in the week to consider whether to extend a conditional offer to Liimatta.

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


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