Strom sets final goals as administrator

ESCANABA — Outgoing Delta County Administrator Philip Strom is aiming to get several things done before he leaves his current position at the end of the month.

Among Strom’s priorities for the transition process is the acceptance of a development agreement for the former Delta County Correctional Facility.

“It’s my hope that we can approve a development agreement on the old jail site at our second meeting in August,” Strom said.

A joint board meeting of the Delta County Board of Commissioners and Escanaba City Council has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Delta County Service Center, after the board’s rescheduled regular meeting.

Efforts related to the county’s 2019-20 budget will also continue in the coming weeks. Strom said he plans to present a rough draft of the budget to the board at the Aug. 21 regular meeting.

“Tom Sabor will then take the budget through the approval process at the September meetings,” Strom said.

At a special meeting of the Delta County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1, the board voted unanimously to appoint Sabor — Delta County’s former treasurer — to the position of part-time interim administrator.

Strom recently spoke with members of the board and the Delta County Planning Commission on ongoing efforts to update Delta County’s master plan, as well. He noted this process will be moving from its first phase, which deals with launching the project and gaining public engagement, to its second phase, which will focus on analyzing information collected in Phase One, developing the master plan and presenting the plan for final approval, in October.

“I’ll be asking the planning commission and (Delta County Building and Zoning Administrator) Dan Menacher to take the lead on finalizing the master plan, together with the board of commissioners,” he said.

Menacher, the planning commission and the board of commissioners will work with OHM Advisors and the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD) in their work towards updating the master plan.

Strom’s other goals for his remaining weeks in Delta County include finalizing contract negotiations with the courthouse union, starting to plan for the remodeling of the Friend of the Court office, continuing security planning for the Delta County Courthouse and making progress on the county’s obligations related to a grant with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for work at the Rapid River Falls ORV/ATV Park.

Strom previously served as the county’s prosecuting attorney. He was hired to fill the county administrator position after former county administrator Ryan Bergman left last year.

In late July, Strom announced he had accepted a new position as deputy city attorney for the city of Grand Rapids.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my family and I,” Strom said of his decision to enter the deputy city attorney position.

Sabor will be involved with coordination meetings for the transition that are set to begin in late August. Strom’s last official day as county administrator will be Aug. 30 and Sabor’s first official day as interim administrator will be Sept. 3.

Strom noted he will be “on call” to assist Sabor for the first two weeks of September.

“I have the utmost confidence that Tom Sabor and the current administrative office employees will help with the smooth transition to the next permanent county administrator,” he said.

Administrative Assistant Tracy Lantagne will also be taking on some additional responsibilities and duties during the county’s search for a new administrator.

Delta County posted the county administrator position in many different places, including the Daily Press, Michigan Works!, the Michigan Association of Counties, the Michigan Municipal League, the National Association of Counties and the Government Finance Officers Association, late last week and early this week. The position is expected to remain open at least through the month of August.