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www.mybaycity.com February 19, 2017
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KEEP RICK FINN: This Manager Has Done Good Work, We Need Him!

February 19, 2017       3 Comments
By: Dave Rogers

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Bay City -- City Manager Rick Finn.
 

City Manager Rick Finn may be the best administrator in recent memory.

Why the President of the City Commission Larry Elliott is saying he "should move on" is beyond me.

Finn is approaching three years on the job; if you remember he came here on St. Patrick's Day 2014, just in time to don a green Michigan State University hat for the parade.

Finn's stated goals from the outset were:

*Remove blight.

*Lower our utility bills.

*Attract new businesses.

*Get families to live here.

*Streamline City Hall.

The City Hall website states: "Since beginning work for the City, he has been working toward the elimination of neighborhood blight, enhancing the physical condition of the city and its resources and building an organization that is focused on the highest level of customer service."

We would give him high marks for achievement leading toward those goals.

Blighted properties are being removed and deteriorating streets, that contribute to blight, are being resurfaced on a regular program. The street resurfacing and improvement "blitz" that took place last year before Tall Ships was amazing. Few managers could have pulled that off under such pressure.

Lowering utility bills would be a challenge in any municipality and, if that is going to happen, Mr. Finn should be allowed time to dig into the situation.

New businesses? Uptown at RiversEdge has grown from $50 million to $100 million in property value since Mr. Finn took over, a startling improvement. Real Seafood and Uptown Grill are thriving and retail stores soon will be opening in another building overlooking the river.

There is a new Courtyard by Marriott at Uptown and the old Holiday Inn has undergone a $4 million renovation and rebranded as a Comfort Inn.

Central Michigan University is sparking entrepreneurship from Uptown and the Michigan Sugar Company is also on site.

Mill End Lofts, The Times Lofts, condos, brownstones, and apartments at Uptown -- who can deny the progress inherent in those developments? New families and singles are moving in by the dozens, bringing added vitality to the local economy.

I have used the new "Payment Only" windows in the lower level of City Hall and seen the smiling faces of folks who really like them. The additional 18 hours of customer service training city employees have undergone is the most refreshing attitude improvement at city hall in years.

We would not be surprised if the commission's hesitancy to extend Mr. Finn's contract is over the Wenonah Park Pavilion controversy. The opposing sides are fighting it out and Mr. Finn perhaps should be the referee, although we have not been aware he is a rabid partisan either way on the issue. That kind of disapproval should not overshadow the great job Mr. Finn has done.

The discussion over a proposed new Lafayette Bridge, Mr. Finn, we think wisely, favors leaving the East span intact while reconstruction on the other span continues:

He told The Times: "This alternative - if implemented - would not adversely affect any of the businesses at all other than the ones that would have to be acquired to make it happen."

Finn says the detour MDOT came up with is helpful.

Decisions like this on the bridge are not the province of rookie managers and who knows what kind of skills are out there these days. It seems like we all should be thankful we found Mr. Finn in 2014.

Two years ago the City Commission, pleased with Finn's performance, rewarded him with a 2.5-percent raise and five additional vacation days.

Andrew Dodson of The Bay City Times/mlive.com, reported: "Commissioner Chad Sibley, 8th Ward, calls Finn a breath of fresh air.

"He's positive and proactive," Sibley said. "He has this can-do attitude that we haven't had in a long time. He doesn't make excuses, he thinks of ways to get things done."

"Commissioner Andrew Niedzinski, 3rd Ward, agrees.

"He does a great job of bringing his experiences into the city and helping us move forward on issues," he said. Commissioner Chad Sibley, 8th Ward, calls Finn a breath of fresh air.

"He's positive and proactive," Sibley said. "He has this can-do attitude that we haven't had in a long time. He doesn't make excuses, he thinks of ways to get things done."

Commissioner Andrew Niedzinski, 3rd Ward, agrees.

"He does a great job of bringing his experiences into the city and helping us move forward on issues," he said.

We have heard few discouraging words about Mr. Finn's performance since that chorus of cheers.

Suddenly, Elliott says it's time for Finn to move on.

I'm wondering what is really behind that bucket of cold water thrown over a well-performing city manager?

And, is it really in the best interest of the city and its residents to tie the can on a manager who is showing ability to get things done?

Seems like this idea should be re-thought, and quickly, before Finn decides to depart. We need him to finish the jobs he has started.

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sunbeamf Says:       On February 20, 2017 at 09:26 AM
Dave, I seldom like to comment on Bay City stuff since I live in Bangor Township but it seems to me that one of the commissioners was quoted as saying the first time we heard about it was in the papers. That is not the way to have a good relationship with the people you work for!! Any time someone in government is praised for "getting things done" rapidly I wonder if they ran roughshod over the democratic process. Democracy moves slowly and listens to all viewpoints before making decisions that affect the many. Maybe there have been other occasions when the first time the commissioners heard about it was in the papers or on TV5. Just a thought.
jahr2d2 Says:       On February 20, 2017 at 09:35 AM
I know Rick Finn. He is an honorable man, with good business mind.
I would hate to see him go at the whim of our city fathers.
Jim Hollerback
Agree? or Disagree?


Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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