Ionia County will interview candidates and select a new administrator on Saturday

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IONIA — The Ionia County Board of Commissioners will interview four finalists on Saturday and then choose their next county trustee.

The council will have a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 24 on the third floor of the Ionia County Administration Building at 101 W. Main St. in Ionia.

The meeting will be in person only.

The jury will audition the following candidates:

  • 8:45 am — Patrick Jordan
  • 10 a.m.—James Palenick
  • 11:15 a.m. — Darcy Long
  • 1:00 p.m. — Dennis Durham (via the Internet from a remote location)

The commissioners will then deliberate and make a decision on their next county administrator. Motions on the agenda include extending a conditional offer to the selected candidate, directing the Michigan Municipal League to complete a background investigation and begin work on an employment contract.

Jordan is the current city manager of Escanaba, according to his resume, having served in that role since June 2017. He was previously the county administrator for Wexford and worked as a borough manager in Alaska. He also served as Muskegon Township Supervisor between June 2004 and August 2008. He received his Masters in Public Administration from Western Michigan University in 2000.

Palenick was most recently the city manager of Middletown, Ohio, from July 2020 until last March, according to his resume. He was Superintendent of the Village of Dexter between 1987 and 1992, City Manager of Dowagiac between 1992 and 1996, and City Manager of Bay City between 1996 and 2002. He has since worked in New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio. Palenick earned his MPA from Western Michigan University in 1987.

Long is the current city manager and zoning administrator for St. Ignace in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to his resume — serving since 2020. He previously served as city manager for Gladstone between 2017 and 2019. A Greenville native, Long has previously worked as a manager in Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.

Long worked in Cass City and Brown City and served as an acting personnel officer for Montcalm County in 2000. He earned his MPA from Northern Michigan University and received a public manager certification from Texas Tech University.

Durham has been a city administrator for Windsor Heights, Iowa, since September 2020, according to his resume. He served as City Manager of Carlton, Oregon, between June 2018 and September 2020. Prior to that, he served as City Manager of Parchment in Kalamazoo County and Deputy City Manager of Kalamazoo between November 2003 and May 2005.

Durham received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1991 and has taken college-level courses in business administration and public administration.

Stephanie Fox resigned as Ionia County Administrator in March after the staff committee voted to reinstate Roads Supervisor Howard “Bud” White, that Fox had fired. Jason Eppler, former city manager of Ionia, served as acting administrator.

— Contact journalist Evan Sasiela at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.

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