Source: Sherman Publications

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Search for new trail manager underway

by CJ Carnacchio

July 24, 2013

Dust off that old resume and polish those interviewing skills because the search for a new Polly Ann Trail manager is officially underway.

Candidates are asked to submit their resumes with cover letters to the Polly Ann Trail Management Council (PATMC) by Thursday, Aug. 15. Interested parties can mail their information to Polly Ann Trail, 23 E. Elmwood St., P.O. Box 112, Leonard, MI 48367.

"I hope we get somebody that has enough passion that they're on that trail all the time," said Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson, who serves on the trail council.

The part-time position will be advertised in Sherman Publications, Inc. newspapers and posted on the trail's website www.pollyanntrailway.org

A search committee consisting of Oxford Township Trustee Sue Bellairs, Orion Township Trustee Donni Steele, and Pearson was tasked with sorting through all the resumes, interviewing applicants and recommending up to five candidates for the trail council's consideration at its Wednesday, September 18 meeting.

"Whatever this council wants, that's what we'll bring back," Bellairs said.

The previous trail manager, Juliane Bagley, submitted her resignation on July 3 citing the "burden associated" with her daughter's "ongoing health crisis" as the reason.

Council voted 7-2 to appoint Lois Golden as the interim trail manager for 60 days. She will work no more than 15 hours per week for an hourly rate of $20.

Golden served as trail manager from 2004-06. Her association with the trail has continued as she's currently in charge of maintaining its website.

PATMC Chairman Ed Brakefield added three items to the trail manager's duties 1) the manager must inspect the entire 14.2-mile trail at least every two weeks; 2) the manager must communicate with the council or chairman "at least once a week" to keep them updated; and 3) after a wind storm, the manager must inspect the entire trail within 24 to 48 hours.

Addison resident Bob Godkin, who serves as the trail council's citizen representative, suggested the third item. "There's always trees down after a major wind storm," he said.

Routine inspections will be year-round.

"This is not just a summer trail," Brakefield noted.

The inspection requirements stem from the fact that back in June, there were 30 downed trees on the trail following a severe storm.

This issue was reported by Godkin, not the trail manager.

As a result, Pearson and fellow Trail Council Member Melvin (Buck) Cryderman, who represents Oxford Township, spent hours cutting up and removing the downed trees.

Both were honored with letters of appreciation from the council along with Leonard resident Fredric Ashley, who also cleared some downed trees from the trail.

Pearson said it's important that the new manager be someone who can communicate with the township supervisors whenever there are downed trees or other problems along the trail, so these issues can be handled in a timely manner.

"I asked the last manager to contact the township supervisors, so that we could rally the forces together," he said. "We never had a call."

Leonard Village President Mike McDonald, who serves on the trail council, echoed that sentiment. "The key is communication and that's something I think we all had concerns about," he said.

Pearson doesn't expect the new manager to be someone who can wield a chainsaw with one hand and write a grant proposal with the other.

"No one person can do that whole trail (alone)," he said. "But if they have connections, they can get it done."

The supervisor said the new manager just needs to be "talented" when it comes to calling other people for assistance.

"That's all they need. There's plenty of help out here," Pearson said.

Two potential candidates for the manager position showed up at the meeting and introduced themselves to the council.

There were Mary Kraniak, a longtime Oxford resident and former Oxford school teacher who just retired after 23 years with the district, and Lake Orion resident Bill Rathburg.

"I, too, share your enthusiasm for the trail," Kraniak told the council. "I enjoy the outdoors. Currently, I live on the Polly Ann Trail and I'm on it every day."

Kraniak said she has grant-writing skills that are both "extensive" and "successful," strong leadership skills and a master's degree in educational administration.

She's described herself as "a hands-on kind of gal."

"I hay-farmed in Addison Township for 21 years," she said.

Rathburg has experience working at various public parks and writing grant proposals. He was a teacher for approximately 30 years before his retirement and is currently a part-time instructor at Oakland Community College.

Brakefield told this reporter it's not been determined whether the terms of Bagley's contract will be used for the new manager.

Bagley was employed as an independent contractor and as such, she received no benefits such as health insurance or retirement.

Under Bagley's contract, the trail manager was expected to work no more than 60 hours per month. She was paid $20 per hour.

Her wages were not to exceed $14,600 annually "unless mutually agreed by the PATMC and manager to extend those hours," according to the contract.