09-08-2016 Search for North Berrien Fire Chief begins; City of Watervliet advertising for full-time

Marc & Mitzi Moore

Marc & Mitzi Moore


Marc & Mitzi Moore celebrate 25 years

 Marc and Mitzi Moore, originally of Coloma, now of Custer, South Dakota are celebrating 25 years together in the saddle of love. The two were married September 10, 1991, in Alpena, Michigan. The couple plans to ride off into the sunset for a second honeymoon in Yellowstone this fall, no lassos needed.  The couple has one daughter, Carrie. Cards of well wishes may be sent to 125 Trails End Ct., Custer, SD 57730.


Search for North Berrien Fire Chief begins

By Annette Christie

Following the findings of a North Berrien Fire Department organizational structure and function study and the recommendation for a full time Fire Chief in June, the search for that individual has begun.   This follows another recommendation of the consultants brought in to perform the study, to add municipal leaders on the Fire Board, if not permanently, at least temporary until there is more consistency within the department.   With Coloma Township Supervisor Ken Parrigin, Hagar Township Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio, and Coloma City Mayor Jim Polashak now on the Fire Board, they have met and determined to move forward with the search for the full time chief.  They are doing so with the help of Jeffrey Swanson.  Swanson was one of two that helped with the survey earlier in the year and came in to evaluate the department and the community. Swanson has more than 20 years of organized fire service experience.   When the results of that presentation were given in June, Swanson recommended using an Assessment Center to expand the search for the full time chief position. He said he would expect that it would be open for a time period of 4-6 weeks.  He described the creation of a job description and the job posting, the vetting process, the number of applicants to receive phone interviews, followed by a smaller scaled down number of applicants for in-person interviews.   He said an Assessment Center tests dimensions, problem solving, group speaking, interaction with other candidates, and collaborative team effort. Swanson estimated this service would cost approximately $10,000.   North Berrien Fire Board Chairman Rob Harper said that the board has not expanded but rather the municipal leaders were able to be added via members stepping down or out of the area that they represent.  The search could take anywhere from December – February to ultimately find the new Fire Chief.

Search for Watervliet City Manager begins

By Annette Christie

The City of Watervliet is advertising for a full time city manager. (See the public notice on Page 8).   The Watervliet City Commission at their last meeting authorized a contract with Bill Hodge as interim City Manager until November 19.  Hodge accepted the position following the departure of LaGrow Consulting, contracted to perform City Manager duties.  Now the search for a full time City Manager begins.   The departure of LaGrow Consulting seemed to begin following a July 26 review by the City Commission.  Having started in August 2015, the company was receiving their first annual review.  The City Commission began with the review in open session, followed by a closed session, and a return to an open session.  At the conclusion of the meeting, LaGrow Consulting asked for time to consider all that had been discussed and that they are given time to respond to the review that had been given.  The City Commission agreed to revisit it on August 9 at a pre-regular meeting specifically for the purposes of continuing the discussion.    That continuation never occurred as LaGrow Consulting submitted and the City Commission accepted a letter of resignation at their regular August 9 meeting.  Following the acceptance of the resignation, the City Commission agreed to pay out the contract (30-day payout), and terminate the contractual relationship.      Hodge, brought in as interim, is now overseeing the search for a replacement City Manager. An employment advertisement states that the City is searching for a full time City Manager, “responsible for the day to day operations of the City.”  Applications will be accepted through September 22.   Upon Hodge’s hiring, he was provided with a list of specific tasks that the Mayor and the City Commission thought most important.  Of those, was identifying a City Manager.    With an advertisement asking for a degree in accounting, finance business management, or public administration and three to five years’ experience, city officials are reaching out for someone with an education and experience.  The City of Watervliet is offering a competitive benefit package and a negotiable salary based on qualifications and experience.