In Vince We Trust

Recent news has reported on the possibility that Farmington's City Manager, Vince Pastue may be selected for the Manager job in another city.

Recent news has reported Farmington's City Manager for the last nine years, Vince Pastue, as being included in the final round of candidates for the City Manager's job at the big City of Troy. Quite frankly losing Vince at this time would pose a tough challenge for our great, small city. It would certainly emphasize the change of our Director of Public Works, Kevin Gushman, who is departing through retirement this month.  

Regarding Kevin, I and our Council congratulate him on a long career of service to the city.  Kevin's energy and influence has touched every part of our city and has contributed greatly to today's Farmington.  

Returning to the challenge of Vince's possible selection for the Troy job: we are hopefully toward the end of the financial crisis we have faced as residents of Michigan, but the delay in increases in taxable value assessments, while enjoyed by us as taxpayers, will keep continued pressure on the Farmington city budget.  Vince has been at the head of the problem solving and management action required.  He has built a capable team, who would no doubt be able to navigate, were he to make a career change, nevertheless he is the head of that team.

Certainly a key problem for us is trying to maintain a competitive working environment which is attractive to our current employees, including Vince, and for new ones we recruit.  In fact we do have a great working environment and a super team of city employees.  The culture present in our city, the engagement of our citizens, in very constructive ways, creates a desirable working environment.

However, all our team members including all bargaining unit employees took a wage cut two years ago to protect the city's services and financial strength.  This certainly can start to make job opportunities in other cities look financially attractive to our team members.  Sooner rather than later we will have to move compensation back in a positive direction or be subject to the loss of key personnel like Vince.  He has foregone or minimized raises in the past knowing that the financial situation required his personal commitment to navigate the financial challenges the city has faced.

Personally, I would never do anything but encourage an individual to pursue opportunities which they have earned, and this is true for our City Manager as well.  However, I would prefer that Vince would stay with Farmington.  I wonder what will it cost in annual compensation for us to bring another manager to our city, and continue that contemplation with whether we should work a little harder on the financial side to keep Vince here.

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