At a special meeting Tuesday evening, Cass County commissioners appointed former Benzie County administrator Charles J. "Chuck" Clarke as interim county administrator/controller. (The Daily News/John Eby)
At a special meeting Tuesday evening, Cass County commissioners appointed former Benzie County administrator Charles J. "Chuck" Clarke as interim county administrator/controller. (The Daily News/John Eby)

Archived Story

Proctor successor search set to start

Published 8:49am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – At a special meeting Tuesday evening, Cass County commissioners appointed former Benzie County administrator Charles J. “Chuck” Clarke as interim county administrator/controller and Slavin Management Consultants of Norcross, Ga., as the search firm to identify 20-year County Administrator-Controller Terry L. Proctor’s successor.

All 14 commissioners present – Robert Wagel was absent – approved the search committee recommendation to hire Clarke pending results of the drug test and background check.

Clarke’s pay rate would be $55 per hour for approximately 20 to 24 hours per week.
The Beulah resident also owns a family home in Kalamazoo County.

He attended the brief meeting to begin getting acquainted with the officials who run county government.

Clarke served as the first administrator-controller in Benzie County in northern Michigan from May 1998 until August 2009, adding controller on Dec. 19, 2000.

Benzie County had a $5.2 million general fund, $23 million in total funds and 100 employees.

He has supervised as many as 300 subordinates.

Clarke earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University majoring in English and philosophy in anticipation of a journalism career.

He fielded 11 questions during a 15-minute interview from Florida Saturday morning.
Clarke is a former U.S. Marine Corps officer who served 20 years, from February 1971 until July 1991.

He operated a small business, Holiday Park, in Traverse City, for five years, June 1993-May 1998.

In the other item of business, Robert E. Slavin overcame half of his opposition from after Saturday morning’s phone interview when he answered 15 questions during a 42-minute exchange.

In a 6-2 vote March 6, Chairman Robert Ziliak and Vice Chairman Ron Francis voted against retaining Slavin.

Ziliak, R-Milton Township, threw his support behind the longest-serving recruiter in the nation.

Francis, R-Cassopolis, held his ground and was joined by Commissioner Dixie Ann File, R-Cassopolis.

“I voted in the negative for a couple of reasons,” Francis commented. “One, I don’t see any great value to go to a firm located in Atlanta, Ga., when we have other options closer to us. Especially now since we’re getting an administrator on board, we could take the time to do a little bit more research.”

Commissioner Johnie Rodebush, D-Howard Township, noted Slavin’s national company, which was founded in 1991 and has placed more than 700 public executives, is assisted by George Goodman, former Michigan Municipal League executive director and 10-year Ypsilanti mayor.

Slavin’s search takes 60 to 90 days and includes three visits. Professional fees cost $13,865, plus expenses not to exceed 55 percent of the fees, for a $7,625.75 maximum charge.

Search Committee Chairman David Taylor, D-Edwardsburg, reported that in checking one of Slavin’s references, Kalamazoo County Administrator Peter Battani, Slavin worked for the county as well as Kalamazoo city.

“He would recommend Slavin in the highest way he could,” Taylor said. “He gave him a sterling recommendation and said he’s very reliable.”

Rodebush said, “A lot of meetings, but we’re at the point now where I feel good about it. Let’s go home and when we come back, let’s work together and not get to the point where we’re like Lansing or Washington where we don’t get along.”

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