City Council Selects New City Manager

City Council Selects New City Manager

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 6/17/2011)


Ferndale City Council met on June 17 to select the new City Manager.  Former City Manager Bob Bruner left the position officially on Feb. 11, and was replaced with Interim City Manager Mark Wollenwebber.

Council interviewed several candidates over the past few months, and narrowed down their search to April McGrath (Assistant City Manager in Ypsilanti), John Gabor (City Manager of Marine City), and Fred Zorn (Deputy City Manager of Southfield).  Ultimately they voted to begin negotiations with April McGrath.


Council appointed McGrath and also voted to negotiate a contract with her.  “It’s not a done deal until we have the paperwork and the background check,” said Mayor Dave Coulter.  McGrath’s pay rate will be part of the negotiation, but in comparison former City Manager Bob Bruner was making $95,000 a year plus benefits – bringing his salary to around $105,000.


Coulter thanked Interim City Manager Mark Wollenwebber for his help in guiding the process and getting the entire staff involved.  “She will fit in here in Ferndale. She’s got the personality for it.” Coulter and members of Council made a phone call to Ypsilanti and spoke with the City Manager the day before, who gave her a “glowing” reference.


“You don’t get to know someone in an hour, so that series of conversations you had put my mind at ease,” said Baker.


Councilperson Melanie Piana also weighed in on the decision. “I made some reference phone calls and I am impressed with the skill set she brings to Ferndale,” Piana said. April has deep experience in human resources, and we’re looking to do restructuring of staff priorities.  She also has significant experience dealing with a similar city with declining resources. She brings a sense of creativity that we’ve been looking for.  One of the questions we asked in the interview process…was to come up with some headlines she would like to see for Ferndale in the next ten years, but the headlines really gave me insight into her vision for Ferndale.  She’s interested in greening the community and transportation, and the mayor was correct in that she was the right fit for us.”


Typically it takes 30-60 for a City Manager changeover once a contract is approved. For other Government and Politics stories go to


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