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Number of female finalists outweigh men for city mgr. job

Submitted by on September 19, 2019 – 12:56 amNo Comment

To the best of everybody’s recollection, Alpena has never had a female city manager, but that might change over the next three weeks.

Four of the six finalists for the city manager position are women. The list includes two internal candidates and one from out of state.

The six finalists include: Heather Grace, former West Branch City Manager; Rachel Smolinski, Director of the Harbor Springs Downtown Development Authority/Principal Shopping District (DDA/PSD); Karen T. Dempsey-Horan, Assistant to the President The Woodlands Township, Texas; Christopher J. Shannon, Gladwin City Manager; Anna Soik, City of Alpena Clerk/Treasurer/Finance Director; and Adam Poll, City of Alpena Planning and Development Director.

Grace was the only finalist who did not list a current employer. According to articles in The Ogemaw County Herald, she resigned as West Branch City Manager in February and subsequently filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city, which appears to be pending.

Although Dempsey-Horan is the only out of state candidate, a quick internet search revealed she has connections to Michigan, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

“City Council and I were very pleased to have such an exceptional pool of candidates to select from,” said Mayor Matt Waligora. “We truly appreciate all 39 candidates for showing interest in this position and Alpena.”

The finalists will be interviewed on Saturday, October 5, beginning at 9 a.m. inside City Hall. Council could vote on a new manager as early as that following Monday, October 7.

A public meet and greet with the candidates is being held at the Alpena Events Complex on Friday, October 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The city received a total of 39 applicants for the position. Of those, 18 were women.