02-09-2017 Four city manager candidates interviewed by Watervliet Commission; 164 years of Valentine

Four city manager candidates interviewed by Watervliet Commission

By Annette Christie

The City Commission held a special meeting Tuesday, February 7 in order to interview four candidates for the position of City Manager.  All were present except for Commissioner Duane Cobb.

The four candidates were Griffin Graham, Amanda Morgan, Heath Kaplan, and Ann Capela.

Griffin Graham is a graduate of South Haven High School and is currently attending Michigan State University with an expected graduation date of May 2017. Upon graduation, he will have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science and Management.  He is currently interning at Meridian Charter Township.

In his position at Meridian Township he works for the Township Manager and the Human Resources Director.  He has learned and performed many human resources functions and served as interim Executive Assistant.

At Michigan State, he is a Resident Assistant and plans and organizes programs to improve the living environment for residents while enforcing university policies and promoting safety.

Graham belongs to the International City/County Management Association, the Michigan Association of Planning, and the American Planning Association.

Graham told the City Commission that he had grant writing experience while working with non-profits. He said that through his internship he has had interaction with all the municipal departments.

Graham told the City Commission that while he may have less experience than other candidates that he has the energy and drive needed.  “I want to make somewhere better,” Graham said.


Morgan started for the City of South Haven as temporary employment in October 1999. She worked up the ranks in the position of assessing assistant, office assistant, deputy clerk/administrative assistant, city clerk/administrative assistant to the City Manager, and her current position of Customer Service Manager.

Morgan has experience with budgets, elections, grant processing, utility billing, and knowledge of BS&A software that the city uses.  “I have a little bit of knowledge in a lot of areas in city government and I believe that could be a benefit for the City of Watervliet,” Morgan said.

She has experience with training and motivating but refers to it more as coaching.  In her current role, she revamped many policies in the customer service area and had to provide that in-depth training in that area.

Heath Kaplan had been interviewed in the fall of 2016 for the City Manager position but was not selected. With three new commissioners on board, he was brought back for a second interview.  He has a master’s degree in Public Administration and his resume describes his strengths as finance, accounting, operations, staff leadership, communications, project management, budgets, grant coordination, and financial modeling among others.