City planner position down to 5 applicants

ALPENA – The City of Alpena’s search for a new planning and development director continues to move forward and the hope is the vacant position will be filled by the end of July. The deadline for applications and resumes was June 3 and the city received more than a dozen applications from people interested in the job made available after former director Greg Sundin was hired to be the full-time city manager.

Sundin said the field of candidates has been whittled down to five people and the hiring process will move toward a more extensive interview process.

“We received 13 applications and the committee we had made up of internal staff, plus a member of the planning commission review those and we managed to narrow it down to five,” Sundin said. “What we’re doing now is trying to figure out a day where we can conduct all of the interviews. There will probably be three separate interviews. The planning commission wanted to be involved, so we will have three or possibly four of them do an interview. Then we will have the administrative staff do an interview to see how the applicant will interact and work as part of the team, and finally another interview with myself, the city attorney and possibly a person from the outside.”

Sundin said he is still in the process of getting everybody on the same page and trying to find a day where the applicants, staff and council members are available for the interviews. He said once a date is set and the interviews complete, the final selection will be made.

“I had hoped to have someone hired by the middle of July, but depending on when we can have the interviews I would be happy with the end of July right now,” Sundin said. “Hopefully we can have someone in place then.”

Since former city manager Thad Taylor was terminated Sundin has been handing the manager’s duties, as well as the planning and development job. He has continued to juggle the responsibilities that come with each job, but said it will be nice to have someone hired to take over the planning and development position.

“There is going to be a transition and I’m going to have to work with the person, whoever that may be, but it will be a sort of the beginning of me transitioning out of the planning and development director role,” Sundin said. “I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to be gone on vacation at the end of August, so I would like a little bit of time before that to work with the new person before I leave.

Sundin said the salary for the new planning and development director is budgeted and once a final candidate is selected a wage level and benefit will be offered to them.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at