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Escanaba city manager to resign

Patrick Jordan

ESCANABA — After two years managing Escanaba’s day-to-day operations, City Manager Patrick Jordan announced Thursday he is resigning from his position with the city.

“It’s with a bit of hesitation that I submit my resignation as your city manager,” Jordan read at Thursday’s city council meeting from a letter sent to Mayor Marc Tall earlier in the day. “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity provided to me by the Escanaba council and residents. I’ve enjoyed my time here and the friends that I’ve made, but at this time it’s best for my family and I to transition to a new position. I hereby submit my contractual 60 day notice with my last day — official day — being Dec. 1, 2019.”

Jordan was hired to lead the city on June 28, 2017, following the retirement of former City Manager Jim O’Toole, who worked 29 years for the city including 10 as the city’s manager. However, Jordan was not the first choice for the council, which initially hired former Negaunee City Manager Jeff Thornton. The offer to Thornton was later rescinded.

“This is a sad day for the city. I think most people know Mr. Jordan’s not my first choice, but he was the best choice,” said Council Member Ralph Blasier.

Prior to Jordan’s time with the city, he served as the administrator of Wexford County in downstate Cadillac. He also worked in the public sector as an assistant city manager and borough manager in Alaska, vital records manager in Texas, township supervisor, adjunct professor, and deputy county clerk in Muskegon, and a friend of the court investigator and corrections officer in downstate Grand Haven.

“Mr. Jordan’s much more intelligent than I ever expected, he’s much more knowledgeable about running a city than I ever expected, and he’s doing a great job. And I thought right (away) that we were underpaying him, and now we’re reaping the consequences of that,” said Blasier.

When it came time to approve Jordan’s resignation, Blasier abstained. The rest of the council accepted the resignation.

The council took preliminary steps to fill the position Thursday by approving the posting of the same job description used for Jordan’s hire through a number of channels including newspapers, direct emails to Upper Peninsula city managers, municipal and government job boards, and social media.

“I don’t believe we need to go over every step in the process at this point, but I do believe we need to begin the process, because 60 days will move quickly,” Mayor Marc Tall told the council.

Following the meeting, Jordan told the Daily Press he will be relocating to Florida. He also said he has enjoyed his time with the city and working with the city staff.

“It’s been good. I’ve enjoyed it. I enjoy the community. I love it up here, I do, but right now, now’s the best time,” he said, adding he

and his wife are now empty nesters.

Tall also reflected on Jordan’s time with the city.

“He’ll be missed, I think he’s done a fine job for the city over the last the years and especially the work he’s done with (property developer) Proxima to reach an agreement with the county and the developer to transform the old jail property into what we hope will be a new landmark for the city of Escanaba,” said Tall referencing a new hotel planned for the site.

In other business, the city:

– Approved the closure of Ludington Street between 10th and 14th Streets on Oct. 26 for the annual Community Trunk-or-Treat event. The road will be closed from noon to 3:30 p.m. with the event itself taking place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

– Approved a fireworks display during halftime at the Oct. 11 Eskymo football game.

– Approved the hire of Miller Canfield of Detroit to serve as bond counsel and Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, LLC of East Lansing to serve as financial advisors for portions of a State Revolving Fund loan for the wastewater treatment plant improvement project. Money for the hire of both firms will be reimbursed as part of the SRF loan process.

– Approved the purchase of BS&A software for utility billing, general ledger, accounts payable, payroll, and cash receipting. The software and related expenses will initially cost the city $146,155, paid in three installments. Annually, the city will pay $7,610 for technical support and maintenance, which is roughly $3,000 less than annual payments for the current software.

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