Buchanan begins search for next city manager

BUCHANAN – The Buchanan City Commission’s search for a new city manager kicks into high gear this week with interviews scheduled Wednesday and Thursday with six candidates. Current City Manager William Marx announced plans to retire late last year.

Search consultant Larry Nielsen said Monday that he thinks city commissioners have a tough job ahead of them as they pick a new city manager with the quality of the people applying.

“I think Buchanan has some excellent choices,” he said. “I was impressed with the number and the quality of applicants.  Among those selected for the interview are persons from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.  I think it will be hard for the commission to make their selection.”

Interviews will start Wednesday with three scheduled that day and three more on Thursday. Interviews will start at 5:30 p.m. each day, with each running for an hour. The public will be able to watch or hear the interviews via Zoom while city commissioners and most of the applicants will be meeting in person.

People were selected to be interviewed after Nielsen spoke with each city commissioner individually and compiled a list of who they wanted to come in for an interview. A total of 13 people submitted applications by the July 10 deadline. The position is advertised with a salary of $85,000 to $95,000.

Those set to be interviewed Wednesday are Heather Grace at 5:30 p.m., Michael Sinnet at 6:45 p.m. and Corey Spackey at 8 p.m. Thursday’s interviews are with Mark Borden at 5:30 p.m., Evan Smith at 6:45 p.m. and Michael “Mitch” Mitchell at 8 p.m.

Grace is an attorney and municipal executive from West Branch, Michigan. She was the city manager of West Branch for five years from 2014 to 2019. She also has extensive experience as an attorney, with her own firm and others as well as working as a law clerk with the Michigan Court of Appeals and as an assistant with the Michigan House of Representatives.

Sinnet, of Crawfordsville, Indiana, has 11 years of experience in community development and management. He has worked with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, a manager with Goodwill Industries and a site manager with a neighborhood center, all in Indianapolis.

Spackey, of Logan, Ohio, has been a village manager in Bremen, Ohio from 2018-20 as well as owner of Spackey Investments since 2016. Bremen has a population of 1,500 and the village has a $1.8 million budget.

Borden, of Carson City, Michigan, has 25 years of experience in healthcare, higher education and government administration. He was the city manager of Carson City from 2008 to 2014 and since then has worked in higher education, as a business consultant and as a healthcare administrator.

Smith, of Granger, Indiana, has over eight years’ experience in local government. He began his career working for the Niles Community Development Department, Niles Dial-A-Ride and then Transpo in South Bend. He has been the transportation and planning coordinator for Berrien County since February, 2016.

Michael Mitchell, of Hillsdale, Michigan, has been a manager for the town of Bristol, Indiana since May,2018. He was previously the village manager of Colon, Mich. from 2017-18, the manager and harbormaster of New Buffalo from 2011-12 and manager for the city of Hillsdale from 2007-11. He is also a realtor.

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