By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – At least one new job is open at the troubled Taylor City Hall. Among other personnel-related issues put before the City Council, Tuesday’s meeting included acceptance of Treasurer Wayne Avery’s letter of resignation.
Avery, 71, with more than 16 years spent behind the treasurer’s desk, resigned his position effective June 9.
“To the voters, I offer a heartfelt thanks,” Avery said in a letter presented to council on his behalf. “I’m proud to have earned your trust.”
In accordance with the city’s charter, council invited interested residents to submit an application for the position. Avery’s replacement will serve out the remainder of the four-year term for which he ran unopposed in 2009. He first served as treasurer from 1989 to 1997, and after a four-year hiatus was again elected in 2001. Avery previously served on the Romulus school board, is a retired juvenile court probation officer and was adoption supervisor for Wayne County.
Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand questioned whether, during a period of city employee layoffs, the treasurer’s duties could be absorbed by existing staff. The city charter, however, mandates that the elected treasurer be replaced, either by appointment or through a special election. Interested residents had until Friday to submit letters of interest.
Lamarand said the preference would be to appoint a treasurer from within, a move that could perhaps result in the restoration of another municipal position.
“My hope is to put someone in that position who knows about the management of municipal money,” Lamarand said. “We don’t need someone who sits in the office and collects a paycheck.”
City employees in several departments hope that negotiations resolve some of the anticipated layoffs set to take effect Thursday. Last month, 48 municipal employees were notified of the pending staff reductions, which city council members said were necessary to ensure a balanced budget by Friday.
This week is expected to be a scramble to save any positions possible before Thursday’s deadline.
“We’ve been going through this for over a year,” Lamarand said. “We should have been done with this months ago. Our job is not to provide jobs, it’s to provide services. That doesn’t sit well with everybody.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)