Source: Sherman Publications

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New treasurer for Clarkston

by Trevor Keiser

August 31, 2011

Clarkston is getting a new treasurer, its fourth in three years.

City Manager Dennis Ritter and former Treasurer Jan Gillespie interviewed Sandra Barlass for the position. A second interview was conducted with Mayor Joe Luginski. All three feel Barlass is good for the job.

"I think we're going to be very pleased with her abilities, her demeanor, and how she presents herself to the public," said Ritter at the Aug. 22 City Council meeting.

Barlass is an accountant with Taubman, Nadis & Neuman P.C. in Farmington Hills.

In an Aug. 10 letter, Ritter told Barlass the treasurer position would be an appointed part-time position, 15 hours a week or more as needed with a salary of $14,500. The appointment "must be confirmed by the City Council."

Councilman Richard Bisio objected to the job offer made before the council could interview the candidate.

"That's not in your authority or the mayor's authority," Bisio told Ritter. "I, for one, would like a closer look by the council at whoever is going to be the treasurer. I would like to have a public interview and private interview."

Bisio also said he wants to know who the other candidates are and if other solutions were considered, such as contracting with another municipality or accounting firm.

Luginski disagreed.

"As far as the interviewing process and all of that, I think that's what Dennis is here for. These people will be working here on a day to day basis. This is how Jan was brought on, this is how Kelly was brought on, and this is how Kim was brought on," he said. "I don't think individually we have the time to sit down and interview everybody that might come through for this position."

Councilman Chuck Inabnit said both Ritter and former Clarkston Police Chief Dale LaCroix were interviewed by the council.

"I would like to agree with Richard, because I kind of look back at the last time we filled a position, which clearly the candidate (Kim Howe) was not capable of fulfilling those duties (as clerk), and I think if we would have took a closer look at that, we wouldn't of had that," he said. "I didn't think she was qualified to be clerk at all. I think that was one of the biggest mistakes we made was for her to be clerk."

Ritter said the function he is responsible for is "just what we've done."

"I'm thinking anything other than that is simply micromanagement and interferes with the daily operations," he said. "It's really up to council if they want to concur with my recommendation and we can move forward."

Councilman Steve Hargis said he's been on a selection committee in the past and seemed to like how it worked.

"I know we haven't specifically seen these people ourselves, but I know how this process has worked in the past," he said. "I tend to agree with how it's been done up to this point."

Council voted 5-2 to approve the recommendation. Bisio and Inabnit voted "no."

"It's irresponsible for the council to exercise it's authority without any information whatsoever about this person or about any other candidates, about whether there was alternatives explored such as I previously suggested," Bisio said.

Ritter told Clarkston News on Aug 25 he would send out Barlass's resume to the council and that she would be officially appointed by the council at the Sept. 16 meeting.