City of East Lansing, MI

City Manager

Location: East Lansing, MI
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The City of East Lansing, Michigan invites qualified candidates to apply for the position of city manager.

The Community
East Lansing is a full-service city with a land area of 13.5 square miles and a population of more than 48,000. The city has 432 employees (324 full-time) and a $73M budget (FY12.) The official organizational chart of the city can be found, along with the FY12 Budget, at

East Lansing is the home of Michigan State University (MSU), one of the nation's first land grant universities. MSU has a student population of approximately 46,000 students and 10,000 employees.

East Lansing is also immediately adjacent to Michigan's state capital in Lansing. East Lansing is centrally located in mid-Michigan and is a convenient one-hour drive from large Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids and Detroit.

East Lansing's more than 25 neighborhoods are steps away from the MSU campus and an eclectic downtown, boasting a variety of stores, galleries, restaurants and professional services.

In recent years, the city has garnered state and national exposure for its entrepreneurial growth, brought on by the opening of the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center in downtown and continued collaboration between the city and MSU.

East Lansing High School has been awarded a Silver Medal designation in U.S. News & World Report for the past three years and the public school district as a whole continues to meet or exceed benchmarks for successful schools.

City Organization and Governance
East Lansing operates under the council-manager form of government with five councilmembers all elected at-large. Terms overlap with three councilmembers elected during one odd-year election cycle and two during the next cycle.

The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are selected from among the councilmembers and each serve two year terms. Three incumbent city councilmembers are all seeking reelection in November 2011.

Numerous boards and commissions provide advice to the City Council on a variety of issues. There are no standing committees of the City Council. The City Charter can be found at  

City managers have enjoyed long tenures during the history of the council-manager form of government in East Lansing. Of the four permanent city managers, the fewest years of service was eight, the most was 28 and the average was 16. The current city manager has served more than 16 years and is departing to take a city manager position in his home state.

The Position

ersonnel Administration
Responsible for the selection, appointment, promotion, evaluation and compensation of all employees.  Ultimately responsible for the relationship between management and leadership of eight employee unions-three are eligible for binding arbitration per state statute.

Direct reports include the Deputy City Manager/Director of Administrative Services; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk; Directors of Parks, Recreation & Arts; Director of Planning & Community Development; Police Chief; Fire Chief; Director of Public Works; Director of Finance; Art Festival Coordinator; Director of Code Enforcement & Neighborhood Conservation; and Senior Program Director. Coordinates with the District Court Administrator and Library Director.

Oversees emergency management functions during emergencies and exercises general supervision of police and fire services.

Assists in developing annual budgets and five-year financial plans. Both are developed and updated by staff with final approval by the City Council.

Maintains relationships with bond rating agencies, bond counsel and financial advisor firms. A thorough understanding of complex financial and labor relations issues is essential. The city enjoys an AAA rating from Fitch Investor Services and an AA+ rating from Standard and Poors.

Among other items, the budget includes capital elements to ensure the maintenance of infrastructure, facilities and recreational amenities. The city operates water and sewer utilities, including treatment plants for both the water and wastewater utilities.

Communication and Partnerships
Ensures consistent communication with City Council, managers, employees, union leadership, MSU administration, faculty, staff, student groups, students, residents, service clubs and neighborhood groups.

Maintains relationships with media groups, including editorial boards of local newspapers, as well as local radio and broadcast outlets.

Develops and maintains shared service relationships with local governments, East Lansing Public Schools and MSU.

Monitors state and federal legislative and regulatory proposals for potential impacts on the city. Helps shape legislative proposals and testifies on relevant legislation before the Michigan Legislature.

Solicits private donations for events and recreational facilities.  Provides general direction for cultural and recreational functions.

Planning and Development
Helps shape the city's strategic plan centered around the themes of Strong Neighborhood, Vibrant Economy, Enhanced Public Assets, Environmental Quality and High Performing Organization.

Serves on the Downtown Development Authority and exercises general oversight of the city's planning and economic development functions. Provides general direction to the city's transportation planning and environmental sustainability efforts.

Candidate Profile
The city is searching for a dedicated city manager who upholds the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, and is able to provide visionary leadership. The ideal candidate will be prepared to invest in a long term commitment to the community.

Experience should include managing a municipality of a similar size to East Lansing. Experience managing in a university community is not necessary, but highly desirable. Assistant city managers, deputy city managers and department heads with 5-10 years of experience managing in a community will also be considered.

The next city manager should have a track record of innovative and proactive financial management and a demonstrative understanding of public sector budgeting and the ability to seamlessly assume a leadership role in the budget preparation process. Candidates should possess an advanced degree in public administration, business administration or related discipline.

He or she should have a history of strong communication with diverse and multi-generational audiences on complex issues/projects. An open-door policy is vital for the next city manager as it relates to the public, MSU faculty/ students, staff and other stakeholders.

The city manager should also be thoughtful and innovative in dealings with important issues in the community. Very often, this will require the city manager to serve as a facilitator with respect to both organizational and community issues that require consensus. The ideal candidate must also be clear and consistent in his/her communication to both the public and staff.

The next city manager must have an understanding of the significance of regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation. It is also vitally important for the new city manager to have the ability to maintain and build upon the city's strong relationship with MSU, the East Lansing Public Schools and other key stakeholders.

He or she must embrace diversity, be personable/approachable and spend time meeting with various community stakeholders. The candidate should also champion the City's many quality of life initiatives - including specialized programs designed for the senior population - and be an active part of the community.

In addition, he or she must have an understanding of the dynamics of working with state government and continue the City's strong focus on economic development.

The City currently has a strong organizational structure that includes a number of long-tenured directors empowered to run their departments with autonomy and make important decisions that pertain to their respective areas. It is important that the next city manager understand this organizational dynamic and continue the practice of team-oriented leadership and inclusive decision making.  The organization also has a history of highly collaborative union/management relations. The next city manager must have experience managing in a union environment, with the ability to maintain strong employee relations through open and honest communication.

Issues and Opportunities

Fiscal Challenges
Controlling budgetary costs during the current challenging economic climate, while providing a full range of quality City services to residents is essential. The City seeking a city manager who has implemented financial management strategies for balancing budgets.

Maintain a Strong Relationship with MSU
Fostering a positive working relationship with the MSU community is imperative, at both the administration and student levels. The strong university influence is a key factor in what makes East Lansing unique. Relationship building and collaboration with MSU stakeholders is fundamentally important.

Qualifications and Experience
Formal education commensurate with this level of professional attainment by an accredited four year college or university in public/business administration or related field desired. Advanced degree in related field preferred.

Significant senior management experience (5-10 years) with a municipal organization that is of comparable size and complexity to the City of East Lansing.  Experience managing in a university community preferred, but not required.

Excellent verbal and written communications skills, as well as presentation and public speaking skills.

Compensation and Benefits
Salary is negotiable, depending on qualifications and experience. Excellent benefits package, including health, dental and life insurance; long-term disability; deferred compensation; long-term care insurance; and flex spending accounts.

The City Manager will be a member of the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS)

Hybrid Program and will be eligible to participate in the Health Care Savings Program for postemployment health care.

The city manager will immediately accrue paid time off benefits, earning 30 days per year.

Application Process
Interested applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: ELCM

Affion Public
20 North 2nd Street, Suite 200
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: 888-321-4922
Fax: 717-214-2205

*Resume deadline: December 12, 2011