(02/18/14) - Saginaw now has a permanent city manager.
City council was considering a search for the person who would replace Darnell Earley, who retired and became Flint's emergency manager in October.
Monday night, council unanimously agreed that search would not be needed. Tim Morales was named interim manager when Earley left. Council members all agreed, he's doing a pretty good job - so why change?
Morales received congratulations from city neighborhood groups at one of his first meetings as Saginaw's city manager.
"He's proven himself over and above, beyond what a person should have to prove himself," said Larry Coulouris, Saginaw City councilman.
That's why Coulouris and other city council members agreed to remove the interim title. Finances were also an issue.
"Making a search would have cost us a minimum $25,000," Coulouris said.
Morales has been with the city for five years now, starting in the role of finance director. He says someone will be hired for that position and he wants to fill another spot that has been a source of controversy.
"It's time the city has a permanent fire chief as well," he said. The city hasn't had a permanent fire chief since Dean Holland retired in 2011.
One job that won't be filled - the assistant manager for public safety. That one opened up when Phil Ludos left for St. Clair Shores in August.
"At this point, I think we will probably be moving those funds into some other services," Morales said.
Morales says the city's budget is in good shape, in part because of the vacant positions. He says public safety overtime costs are down and there are no plans to revive discussions about outsourcing the city police services to the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department.
Morales does believe the two departments can work together to cut costs.
"I think maybe we can start working with having our public safety groups work together on training and those types of activities as an initial start," he said.
Morales will be paid the same salary as his predecessor, which is $110,000 a year.
Another change is also taking place at City hall. Councilman Norman Braddock has resigned, saying he is going to run for state representative.
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