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Commissions, jobs & more: How to get involved in towns along The Southeast Shore


Depending on where you live, it can be confusing to understand when meetings takes place, how to volunteer or who to talk to for a municipal job. We asked members of municipalities along The Southeast Shore about the best way for citizens to get involved.  If you had questions, we hope this will answer them!


We asked the same questions to each representative. Each person had the ability to answer the question with as much or little detail as they wished. Answers below are listed in order of geography from South to North. 


As you read through the responses, it's interesting to see how things are the same, yet also different. One area where we see an opportunity for enhancing communications is within the City of New Buffalo and New Buffalo Township: using digital communications like Facebook or even Instagram to provide updates to citizens.


Participants

City of New Buffalo: David Richards, City Manager

New Buffalo Township: Michelle Heit, Township Supervisor

Village of Three Oaks: Mike Greene, Village Manager

Chikaming Township: David Bunte, Township Supervisor

City of Bridgman: Juan Ganum, City Manager 


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How do citizens find out what positions are open within various boards? What is the process to apply? What is the process of finding out if the citizens gets a slot? Is there an interview process? 


City of New Buffalo

The City advertises the positions in the New Buffalo Times and the City of New Buffalo’s website. 


New Buffalo Township

There haven’t been too many openings in the three years Ms. Heit has been Supervisor, however, the Township contacts people who expressed interest in any openings.


Three Oaks

Three Oaks posts the openings in the newspaper, village website and Facebook. Citizens provide letters of interest and then are interviewed by the Village President. After the interview process, The Village President will make a recommendation to the Village Council, who then approves the board members. Following the approval, The Village Manager follows up with the board member and provides them with any necessary information. 


Chikaming Township 

Openings  are announced in board meetings, posted on social media and on the Township website. In order to apply, citizens let the Township Supervisor know of the interest. From there, an interview is scheduled with the Supervisor.  The Supervisor then interviews all interested individuals and sends a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The board approves or declines the recommendation(s). 


Bridgman

If a term is to expire or a vacancy occurs in an appointive position, the Council shall, sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of any regular term or thirty (30) days after a vacancy occurs, publish notice of the open position in a paper of general circulation within the City and post said notice in three public places in the City. Persons interested in consideration for appointment shall submit a written statement of interest to the City Clerk, who shall deliver copies to the City Manager and the Mayor. The Mayor shall submit a recommendation to the City Council for consideration, however, no vacancy in any board, commission or authority shall be filled by appointment as above provided, if the term of office of the person whose office has become vacant expires within ninety (90) days after the vacancy occurs.

The City of Bridgman posts the vacant positions of all boards at City Hall, the Post Office, and the Library. Publication for the notices are done in the MailMax. Anyone interested to serve on a board, may contact the City Clerk by stopping in at City Hall, 9765 Maple Street, Bridgman, MI 49106, by phone 269.465.5144, or by email aholm@bridgman.org.

An application will need to be filled out and turned in to the City Clerk. Applications can be found on the city’s website: (http://www.bridgman.org/DocumentCenter/View/726/City-of-Bridgman---Boards-and-Commissions-Form) or at City Hall, 9765 Maple Street, Bridgman, MI 49106.


Applications received by the City Clerk are forwarded to the mayor and city manager. The mayor will make a recommendation to the Bridgman City Council for consideration, and the City Council will make the appointment during its regular meeting. The applicants for consideration are then notified of their appointment and term ending dates.


Jobs

How are jobs posted? What is the process for somebody applying? In person? Online? What is the follow-up process for somebody after they apply for a job. Do they hear a response either way?


City of New Buffalo

Jobs are posted in the area newspapers, on the City’s website and via Indeed. People can visit City Hall as well. Only viable candidates are contacted for interviews. The number of Indeed responses makes individual contact impractical. 


New Buffalo Township

When there is a job opening, they are posted in the newspaper. Resumes are taken from there. Interviews take place and the Township notifies the applicant chosen and lets the others know someone else was selected for the position. 


Village of Three Oaks

Pending the job, they are posted in local newspapers, website, Facebook and potential outlets as Indeed. Applying includes sending along a cover letter, resume and references. A candidate can also submit a Village job application (in person or via email). Whether or not the job is a fit, candidates are contacted. 


Chikaming Township 

Jobs are announced at board meetings, on social media, Township website and listed in local papers.  Applications are available on the Township website or at the Township Center. Once applications are reviewed, interviews for pre-qualifying applicants are scheduled. Interviewed applicants are then reviewed by the appropriate department head and supervisor.  Second interviews may be scheduled for top candidates before a final decision is made by the department head. Recommendations then sent to the Board of Trustees for approval/denial.


Bridgman

Open positions are posted on the City’s website: http://www.bridgman.org/135/Employment-Opportunities, which includes an application form that must be completed.  Generally, job postings request additional information from applicants, such as a resume or references.  The process itself is not formalized through policy (though it ought to be). Applicants who are not invited to interview are typically not notified, though the process varies from department to department.


Who is in charge of HR?


City of New Buffalo

The City Manager


New Buffalo Township

The Administrative Assistant 


Village of Three Oaks 

The Village Manager is the official head of HR, however, the Village Treasurer and Clerk handle payroll and insurance claims. 


Chikaming Township

The Clerk’s Office


Bridgman

Bridgman is too small of an organization to warrant a full or part-time HR specialist.  The city treasurer has traditionally carried out the duties typically associated with a human resource coordinator.  The Treasurer handles all of the tax and benefit intake forms at hiring. They also serve as a conduit to the benefits administrator and/or health insurance provides. The City Manger is also involved with HR issues, as needed.



Is your town a member of the Best Practices Committee? If yes, who attends the meetings?


City of New Buffalo

Given time constraints, they do not attend any meetings. 


New Buffalo Township

Yes. Michelle Heit attends.


Village of Three Oaks

Yes. Mike Greene attends.


Chikaming Township

Yes. David Bunte attends these meetings and, at times, the Clerk. David Bunte is also on the Executive Board of the Best Practices Committee. 


Bridgman

Yes, Bridgman is one of sixteen local unit of government members of the Best Practices Committee.  The City Manager attends the meetings on behalf of the City and is regularly involved as the City’s representative.  Bridgman has hosted executive meetings and full board meeting of the Best Practices Committee.

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