2015-03-26 / Front Page

Thayer Offered Manager Position

By Erich Doerr

David Thayer, a former city manager at Grayling, has been tentatively offered the village manager post at Mackinaw City, following public interviews that took place Monday, March 23. The village says it will also continue to review his resume and check his background and complete its research before signing a contract.

Mr. Thayer is one of four candidates who were interviewed for the job. Interim Village Manager David White, Kelly C. Karll a civil engineer with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and Mackinaw City Police Chief Pat Wyman, a former interim village manager, were also interviewed.

The Michigan Municipal League worked with the village on the search and submitted 28 applications for review after vetting all of the applicants. The field of 28 was narrowed to the final four by the village council before the interviews began.

The village council voted 4 to 2 to offer Mr. Thayer the position after interviewing all four candidates. The manager position has been vacant since last October when Adam Smith left to become the city administrator at Grand Ledge.

Village Council President Robert Heilman said he has worked with Mr. Thayer when he was the administrator at Grayling when both served on the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments. He said Mr. Thayer’s experience in Grayling was considered a major factor in the council’s decision to hire him because the community faces similar issues to Mackinaw City as a Northern Michigan economy with a lot of tourism.

Grayling terminated Mr. Thayer’s contract in May 2010 during a contentious series of charges of violating privacy and campaign finance laws. He was ultimately convicted, and his conviction upheld, on the charge that he violated campaign finance laws by using city resources to support the campaign of a city council candidate. Mr. Thayer has contended the charges against him were politically motivated.

Mr. Heilman said the Village of Mackinaw City is aware both of Mr. Thayer’s accomplishments and troubles at Grayling and is investigating.

The interview process lasted all day, beginning with a review of interview perimeters with all four candidates in the morning. Each candidate was then interviewed individually, and the board stayed afterward to deliberate a decision.

Mr. Thayer has spent the last five years as a consultant and the president of D. A. Thayer Enterprises, a consulting firm in Garden. His firm assists local government, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses to develop business plans, achieve goals, and market themselves. He was the city manager in Grayling from 2006 to 2010 and the village manager in Lexington from 2002 to 2006. His other previous roles include serving as the field operations manager of the United States Census Bureau’s Ishpeming office and the director of the Marquette County Commission on Aging.

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