April 17, 2013 - "I feel like I'm coming home," said Carol Eberhardt, who was recently hired to be the City of the Village of Clarkston's city manager. "How lucky am I? I get to live where I work and do what I love," she added.
Eberhardt, who was elected to the council in November, will resign from her position and take the job as city manager on April 22 at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. She replaces Dennis Ritter who has served as city manager since 2008.
"My first priority is to talk to as many people as I can to get a sense of their needs and requests," Eberhardt said.
She intends to meet with each council member individually, and hopes to speak with the Clarkston Retailers, Historic District Commission and Planning Commission too.
During Eberhardt's interview before the City Council on April 8, she shared a 100-day plan with those in attendance.
Her goals included gathering volunteers from the area, working with the treasurer to learn the city's budgeting software, meeting with Lt. Dirk Feneley, Oakland County Sheriff's substation commander, and researching grant opportunities.
Eberhardt wants to tweak the city's website by making forms available and posting happenings on a "special events" page. She wants to create a welcome and resource packet to be hand delivered to people who move into the community, as well.
Along with meeting with community members and changing the city's website, Eberhardt stated, "We need to get serious with our ordinance enforcement."
In particular, she referred to applying the sign ordinance with the downtown business owners. "My rule is you either enforce the rules that you have or throw them out. There is no middle ground," she said.
"The retailers market the cute, quaint, historic Clarkston and then kind of work in the opposite direction to glitz it up a little bit or to change the historic flavor of the buildings," Ebehardt noted.
"I don't think the retail district truly understands what level of communication and teamwork should be happening with the council and how we all want the exact same thing to happen here. We want it to thrive, and we want to maintain our historic district flavor," she pointed out.
In addition to getting tough with ordinance enforcement, Eberhardt wants to make changes in the City's Department of Public Works (DPW).
"I think the way they are supervised needs to change," she said. "I think their reporting system needs to change."
The DPW isn't the only department that can expect alterations once Eberhardt gets started, however.
"The other thing we need to look at is the Building Department," she told the council. "A change needs to happen there only because Sy [Seymour Stone], our Building Inspector, has aged, and he is not well, so it's been very, very difficult for him to do his job," she said. Eberhadt stated she would likely look into the township's service offerings then offer a recommendation to the council on how to proceed.
While Eberhardt brings many ideas to her role as city manager, she said, "I want every resident to feel free to wander into City Hall to talk to me. I'm extremely approachable and easy to get to know."
Clarkston News reporter