Houghton City names manager finalists

HOUGHTON – The names are out.

Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes announced the three candidates to succeed him in the post at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

The three are:

Barry Givens of Hancock, vice president of Division 1 Design. Givens, mayor pro tem of Hancock, has been on its council since 2012. He also served an earlier term on Hancock’s council from 2004 to 2008, when he served as mayor. Givens holds a degree from Michigan Technological University in civil engineering. Givens is out of town and could not be reached for comment.

If selected, Givens would have to resign from the Hancock council, Clerk Ann Vollrath said today. Although the city charter calls for the manager to live within Houghton, state law forbids municipalities from forcing someone to move if they live within 20 miles, Vollrath said.

Kathryn Lynnes of Santa Fe, N.M., regulatory manager at Los Alamos National Security. Lynnes graduated from MTU in 1979 with a civil engineering degree. She also holds a doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law. A message was left on Lynnes’ cell phone seeking comment.

Eric Waara of Houghton, civil engineering project manager at U.P. Engineers & Architects. Waara also holds a degree from MTU in civil engineering. Waara declined to comment Wednesday.

The three candidates will be interviewed at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in the City Council chambers. The Personnel Committee will make a recommendation to the council, which is expected to vote on Dec. 18.

Committee members Dick Gray and Tom Merz will interview the candidates, who will be questioned separately. The public will be able to watch the 45-minute interviews.

Givens will be interviewed at 5:30, followed by Waara at 6:15 and Lynnes at 7 p.m. Mayor Bob Backon randomly selected the order from a hat at Wednesday’s meeting.

The finalists were culled from a field of 20 applicants.

MacInnes announced in October he would step down as city manager in February to allow the new manager time to work on the city budget, which must be approved by the end of June.

MacInnes plans to stay with the city through 2014 in an as-yet-untitled advisory capacity.

In other action, the council:

heard a report from Department of Public Works Supervisor Mark Zenner. Crews have been fighting several water leaks, including a 6-inch main split at Portage Street and Seventh Avenue and a residential service line leak on Birch Street. They are also working on new lights for Townsend Drive; some heads have been changed out east of MacInnes Drive. The manufacturer of the lights on Ridge Road and Razorback Drive has also been contacted because of the lights’ yellowing appearance.

Zenner also addressed poor driving conditions in the city Wednesday, which had led to numerous accidents. Zenner said many were attributable to excessive speed and bad tires.

“Check your tires on a day like this,” he said. “Don’t go to the tire store afterwards, because it might be too late.”

heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. The department has responded to 105 calls for service, and made seven misdemeanor arrests and issued 29 civil infraction tickets. Donnelly echoed Zenner’s remarks on tires; officers responded to four accidents within an hour. Parts are coming in for the department’s new car. The East Houghton ice rink is open, though ice is still thin.

met as the Zoning Board of Appeals and took no action on a request to change the number of allowed non-related tenants at 1009 E. Houghton Ave.

approved an ordinance to insert the International Property Maintenance Code into the city’s existing ordinance.

“This is a more complete ordinance,” MacInnes said. “It’ll give us a lot better handle on neighborhood preservation.”

approved an ordinance amending city code regarding snow and ice removal. Owners and occupants may put snow or ice from public walks or from banks formed by city plowing in the street right-of-way as long as it doesn’t reduce the width between banks by more than 2 feet, 6 inches.

Overnight parking spots can be cleared between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.; the snow shall be piled in front of the property on a portion of the street not used by pedestrians or vehicles.

approved $117,000 in Revolving Loan Fund requests for three businesses for facade requests. The loans are $60,000 for the Douglass Agency, $30,000 for the State Wide Insurance building and $27,000 for the Blue Iris building. The interest rate for the five-year loans is 4 percent.

approved a request to collect summer taxes for the Copper Country Intermediate School District.

approved a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant request for the fire department. The city authorized spending $3,722.50 for several items, which would come from the general fund.