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Annual report from city manager

August 27, 2014 - As required by charter, Clarkston City Manager Carol Eberhardt submitted a yearly report to City Council.

Work over the last year included improving communication procedures, changing processes in the city, staff changes, implementing technological changes, and other improvements.

"I believe it's important for the council to understand what progress and direction the city has been going in the last year in order to plan for the future," Eberhardt said.

The city manager is involved in several committees in the city, and attended 26 ribbon cuttings and other events throughout the year.

Eberhardt also wrote and applied for two grants, but both were unsuccessful.

The report also outlines changes she made in staff, including setting up weekly staff meetings, encouraging staff to collaborate on projects, ensuring staff are cross trained on duties, and implementing changes to help staff work together more efficiently on projects.

She also outlined changes to a variety of forms to keep things running more smoothly as well as technological changes made at city hall.

"It was a good report with good summation of the last year," said Councilman Mike Sabol, the only council member to comment on it.

Although many accomplishments have been made, her time on the job has not been without troubles.

Eberhardt's hire was controversial, after she applied for the job while serving on city council. In order to hire her, the city council overrode section 4.18 of the City Charter, which prohibits employment of an elected official for a year after they leave office.

To bypass the rule, the council had to secure five votes to approve the override--a vote which passed by a 5-1 vote. Her hire was later approved by a 4-2 vote on April 8, with two council members voting "no." Her first day on the job was late April in 2013.

Eberhard's year in office has also been marked by complaints about Freedom of Information Act requests, deletion of public city records, and complaints filed with local and state police to investigate deletion of city records and violation of FOIA laws.

Law enforcement officials found Eberhardt did nothing wrong criminally.

During her first year, Eberhardt also severed communications with The Clarkston News after articles were printed, including complaints from a local resident. Eberhardt said she would no longer participate in interviews or in anyway communicate with the newspaper. She later rescinded her announcements, but communication throughput her year in office have been sparce.

When asked a series of questions about the yearly report, Eberhardt's responded that she would change nothing except trusting this reporter at The Clarkston News.

"I very much regret I put any trust in you," she said.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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