ALPENA - It appears former Alpena City Manager Thad Taylor is on the verge of becoming the next city manager for the City of Cedar Springs. On Wednesday, the city council for Cedar Springs voted 7-0 to hire Taylor, pending a contract agreement in which both parties say is but a formality.
Taylor said he visited the community and was impressed by it and what it has to offer him and his family. He said Cedar Springs' proximity to the town of Greenville played a role in his decision to pursue the job, as did what the city and community has to offer.
"I'm in a position where I could be very selective on where I applied, and Cedar Springs was very attractive for several reasons. Number one is it is a stable community in terms of finances, politics and heard good things about the city's operations, so that made it intriguing, and on a professional level it looked like a good community to go to," Taylor said. "Another things is Cedar Springs is only 15 miles from where I grew up. It's where my mom and dad live, it is where my brother and sister live, and last year my daughter and her family moved down there, so my three grandsons are there. My wife also grew up close to the area, and she also has family nearby, so in a way we are going back home."
Roger Parent, who is the interim manager in Cedar Springs, said that Taylor prevailed over 30 other candidates for the open position. He said Taylor came across as very professional, as well as knowledgeable about what the responsibilities are for a city manager. He said Taylor addressed the issues surrounding his termination in Alpena in April and praised the Alpena community as well.
"He came across as very informed and professional and was very upfront with his history with the city," Parent said. "You could tell during the interview process that he answered the questions honestly and didn't just tell us what we wanted to hear. He spoke highly of Alpena and that he was proud of the role he played. I hope he will have the same passion and love for Cedar Springs as he does for Alpena."
Parent said a contract is being negotiated, and another thing that impressed the council was the fact that Taylor could start quickly. He said he believes the council made the correct hire and that it is important for Taylor to take the reins soon.
Parent said Taylor indicated he could start about two weeks after a contract is agreed upon.
"We're just working out the pay scale, the benefits and severance. I expect that we can have this wrapped up very soon," he said.
Taylor said Cedar Springs is smaller than Alpena, but is similar in some ways as well. He said Cedar Springs has indicated some of the things it is moving toward are things he helped accomplish in Alpena.
"There are about 3,500 people in the community, so it's smaller, but while visiting it my impression is it is kind of the same thing we have here. It is a blue-collar town, they have some recent development, they have a good downtown, they have older sections of town, as well as newer subdivisions," Taylor said. "They want to do some things that, in my opinion, Alpena has done already, like an aggressive sidewalk replacement program, put some more investment into the roads. They want to diversify houses and the second floor downtown rental units. I've been there, done that. It is all very appealing."
Taylor said he has lived in Alpena for 20 years and intended to retire here. He said after the termination he decided he wasn't ready to retire yet and began looking for another position. He said even though he will have to sell his home and move, Alpena will always hold a special place in his heart, and the decision to leave it was a hard one to make.
"Other than losing my job, I have nothing bad to say about the community. When we came up here, the community welcomed me and my family with open arms and never turned their backs on us," Taylor said. "As much as I loved my job, the people I worked with and all of the great things we have shared, I love the community as much if not more. There are good people here and the amenities we have here are unmatched. I'm going to leave here with a lot of regret because I wanted us to remain here, because I like the community, what it offers and I liked my job. It is going to be tough to move on, but it is going to be another chapter in our life."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.