Houghton City Manager Contract Approved | News, sports, jobs

Houghton City Manager Eric Warra listens to the council’s discussion of his manager’s contract during Wednesday’s meeting. The board approved a new two-year contract for Wara, who has been director since 2014.


HOUGHTON – Houghton City Manager has a new contract.

Houghton City Council on Wednesday approved a new contract for Houghton City Manager Eric Warra, whose current contract expires on June 30. The two-year contract includes a 3% increase similar to that negotiated for other city employees.

In a separate proposal, the board voted to give Warra $2,000 in hazard pay. The $2,000 is the same amount given to other city employees in 2020, which Waara had not received at the time.

“We suggested to him that we wanted to correct what we thought was a nice move on his part, but which we felt was as worth it as everyone else,” Counsellor Mike Needham, who serves on the Personnel Committee, said.

The contract also reduces the minimum notice of resignation from six months to 90 days. It also changed the loss of all leave and sickness upon resignation to forfeiture of only 25% of the leave accrued.

“Six months (the requirement) is, in our view, a period of time aimed at a new appointment when we look to ensure some continuity,” Needham said. “We have a long-term city manager at this point. It is a stressful and almost punitive period of time.”

Wara has held the position of City Manager since 2014.

In other proceedings, the Board:

Recommended that Brad Tinsberger be appointed to the Houghton Planning Committee on Wednesday. By city ordinance, the appointment is technically made by the mayor with advice from the council.

Baltensberger replaces Michelle Jarvey Eggart, who left the Houghton City Planning Commission after moving out of the city limits. Palsenberger fills in the industrial/economic position.

Baltensberger worked at Michigan Technological University for 40 years as a professor of geography, the last 13 years as department chair.

He has also held several positions related to education, including founding the Qatari Copper Society for School Boards. He spent 34 years on the Houghton-Portage Township School Board, including serving three times as president.

Three people have applied for the position: Paltsberger, Jason Mack, and Norma Viornek.

Chancellor Craig Waddell suggested that the council consider Ferenc. Wadel said she attended meetings frequently. Waddell said her background, which includes civil engineering experience, is very similar to that of Jarvey Eggart.

Wadel also contested inconsistencies in the approval process, noting that Jarvey Eggart was appointed during a private meeting in which the board interviewed each candidate.

The council approved Paltsberger by 4-3 votes. Mayor Bob Bacon, Pro Tim Robert Meguin and Council members Mike Needham and Brian Arizarri voted in favour, while Waddell and Council members Jean Cole and Joan Sots voted against.

“I think these three candidates are going to do a great job, and I think the mayoral nomination is a qualified candidate,” he said. said Irisari who cast his final vote.

– $1,500 is approved for the Biwabike Street Community Park, as the council does every two years. Co-Manager Elena Bosova said the money went to pay water bills, repairs and scholarships for low-income gardeners.

The garden will be holding its 14th Annual Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 28 at Trinity Episcopal Church at 205 E. Montezuma Ave. in Houghton. The sale is the park’s only fundraiser of the year.

– I heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. The department hired a full-time officer, Jeremy Tormala. Donnelly said he’s the first new employee in the department in years to come straight from the academy.

– I heard news from Wara. The city began to overrun. Semco Gas Energy Co. She is excavating the site of an apartment fire and explosion on College Avenue. Crews on the pier project are working in the parking lot to install the rainwater sewer, which Warra said should be completed in the next day or so.

He received correspondence from Waddell, who said he would redirect his salary as a counselor to the police department for crisis intervention training. The council also received a letter from Portage Township notifying it of a public planning committee hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday to consider amending the zoning law to allow seaplanes to be used in the B-2 area. The damaged property is located 300 feet from the city’s Nara Nature Park, prompting the notification.

Discussing future agenda items. Waddell said he intended to file a case relating to Nara Nature Park; When questioned, Needham did not go into details. In a document later sent to council members and the media, Wadel said he spoke with a resident who has management experience. The evaluator made several suggestions for improvement. One involved dividing the Tech Trails and Nara Nature Park ski trails, now operated by Michigan Tech, between the city of Houghton, Michigan Tech, and volunteers. The resident will also organize other volunteers to conduct a more comprehensive survey of Nara Park’s trails (separate from Michigan Tech Trails) and to provide trail management recommendations to the city.

– Issued a resolution adopting the Articles of Incorporation of the Houghton County Recreation Authority and requesting re-admission to the authority. The original Articles of Incorporation had to be reconstructed after a procedural error occurred.

Schedule a public hearing for the 2022-23 Operating Budget at 5:30 p.m. on June 15.

A public hearing for the Capital Improvement Plan 2022-27 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on June 15.

Modified subcommittee appointments. Waddell has been appointed to subcommittees to review ordinance, emergency fund, revolving loan, non-automated transportation, and cable concession committees.

– The Houghton City Zoning Appeals Board met to approve a backyard and square foot application at 609 W. Calverley Ave.

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