2005-12-01 / Front Page

Eric Dodson Chosen as New City Manager in 4-2 Vote

Mayor Replacement, Fluoride Issue Slated for Feb. 28 Special Election
By Ryan Schlehuber

Eric Dodson of Edmore was selected as the new St. Ignace city manager in a 4-2 vote of the city council Monday, November 28. He will replace retiring manager Gary “Pete” Heckman by the first of the year.

After a brief discussion about when to pick a city manager, the motion was made to hire Mr. Dodson from the four remaining candidates after Council decided no second interviews would be held.

St. Ignace Public Works Director Les Therrian, Rob Winkelman of St. Ignace, and Thomas Cogswell of Rockwood were the other candidates. Chris Rose, a candidate from New Hampshire, withdrew his name when asked to come to St. Ignace for a face-to-face interview. He decided he could not take the job here for the pay that the city is offering, said City Manager Gary “Pete” Heckman.

Voting for Mr. Dodson were Councilmen Merv Wyse, Tom Della-Moretta, Paul Grondin, and Don Gustafson, though, Mr. Gustafson admitted his top candidate was Mr. Rose.

Voting against hiring Mr. Dodson were Councilwoman Susan Tamlyn-Massaway and Councilman Willie LaLonde. Both said they had another candidate in mind, other than Mr. Dodson. Both also intend to run for mayor.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing what ideas he will put on the table for us to work together on,” said Mrs. Tamlyn-Massaway after the vote.

“I hope he can do some good things for the city,” said Mr. LaLonde. “Time will tell. It’s going to be different for sure, since we’ve been used to one city manager for 27 years.”

Mr. Dodson is expected to start his new position by January 1. He will be hired on a two-year contract with his salary to be negotiated between $50,000 to $55,000.

Mr. Dodson is a 1991 graduate of LaSalle High School and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University and a juris doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He has been a private attorney since 2001. Mr. Dodson was manager for the Village of Edmore for four years prior to practicing law, and still serves in many civic arenas there, including being the village attorney.

Special Election for Mayor

Council will hold a special election February 28, 2006, to allow the public to select a new mayor and to vote on whether the city should put fluoride back into the public drinking supply.

Former Mayor Bruce Dodson, who was reelected to office November 8, resigned last week to avoid a conflict of interest in being mayor if his son, Eric, was hired.

Under the city’s charter, no relative of an elected official can hold a city position during that elected official’s term. Technically, Bruce Dodson could be appointed or elected as mayor after his son is hired as city manager, but he said last week he no longer is interested in that.

Council had the option of appointing a mayor, but decided on a special election, instead.

Those interested in running for mayor can pick up a petition form at City Hall. Petitions would have to be turned in by the beginning of 2006, said City Clerk Renee Vonderwerth.

Mrs. Vonderwerth said mayoral candidates should try and get more than the required 10 signatures for their petition because two petitions cannot be signed by the same voters.

Councilwoman Tamlyn-Massaway and Councilman Willie LaLonde have told The St. Ignace News they will be running for mayor.

Fluoride was removed from the city’s water supply earlier this year to save $15,000. Some public outcry has been heard, especially from area dentists, who say fluoride is an efficient and inexpensive way to prevent cavities, especially in children up to the age of 16, and especially for poor children who may not get fluoride any other way.

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