March 8, 2010
Ben Hughes offered city manager job in Michigan
-- Former mayor Gary Becker was sent to prison last week.
-- Former City Administrator Ben Hughes (left) -- who resigned a month after Becker's arrest in January 2009 -- is about to get a new job. The City Council of St. Clair Shores, Michigan -- a suburb of Detroit -- voted 7-0 tonight to hire Hughes as City Manager.
Well, technically; the vote was to make a conditional offer to Hughes on Wednesday. If he accepts, Hughes will be replacing a retiring city manager, Kenneth Podolski, 60, whose contract expires June 30 -- "not one who was caught with four hookers," in the words of a Detroit Free Press contact. (Apparently they have mayoral problems in Detroit as well -- i.e., the continuing case of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's sexual misconduct is still in the news there.) Update: Hughes tells us he is definitely going to accept the job, and expects to start work in St. Clair Shores on March 22.
A national search produced 50 candidates; the final four were interviewed by the council on Saturday. Others interviewed, according to the Free Press, were Ann Capela, city manager of Inkster, MI; Grant Kleinhenz, city manager of Centralia, IL., and James Payne, former city manager of Rio Rancho, NM.
St.Clair Shores is slightly smaller than Racine: The 2000 Census said it has a population of 63,096. (Racine's is 80,806.) It is located 13 miles northeast of downtown Detroit, in Macomb County, on the shore of Lake St. Clair. It also is just 21 miles from Dearborn, where Hughes' siblings and family live.
Hughes, 36, began work here on Oct. 1, 2007. He resigned on Feb. 16, 2009. He holds both a B.A. and a Master's degree in public administration.