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City Administrator

Location:  City of Ann Arbor, MI Download:  City of Ann Arbor, MI - City Administrator Brochure

City of Ann Arbor - City Administrator

*Candidates desiring confidentiality of their interest, as allowed for and provided by Michigan law, must indicate such in a separate subject line above the body of the cover letter. 

The Community

Ann Arbor is a city in the state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. Believed to be named for the spouses of the city's founders and for the stands of trees in the area, Ann Arbor is best known as the location of the main campus of the University of Michigan, which moved from Detroit in 1837. Visitors are drawn to Ann Arbor for its eclectic urban setting and acres of parks and trees. This unique contrast offers something for everyone.  The city is also known for its political liberalism and activism.

The cosmopolitan college town boasts casual to fine dining and world-class shopping in nationally known stores and boutiques with local flair. It has a large number of restaurants and performance venues. Action-packed sporting events come courtesy of the University of Michigan - as well as 157 city parks, seven golf courses and endless trails. Cultural experiences, including museums, galleries and performing arts centers, make Ann Arbor a destination for arts aficionados of any age.

A bustling downtown and charming tree-lined neighborhoods make Ann Arbor an ideal place to live, learn, work and raise a family. More than 114,000 residents live within the city's 28 square miles. The city is known for its expansive parks system and commitment to environmentally progressive practices.

Ann Arbor is a hub for excellence in education and boasts five colleges and universities. The city's acclaimed public school system has adopted a comprehensive academic achievement plan to help ensure all students are successful. The University of Michigan is the dominant institution of higher learning in Ann Arbor, providing the city with a distinctly college-town atmosphere. Much of the campus is adjacent to and intermixed with the city's downtown district. Because the campus and the city expanded side-by-side, there is often no firm divide between the two, with university buildings scattered through much of the city center.

The city's economy is currently dominated by education, high tech, and biotechnology. Average home prices and property taxes are well above the state and national medians. Ann Arbor underwent a gradual shift from a manufacturing base to a service and technology base during the 20th century, which accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s. At the same time, the downtown transformed from one dominated by retail establishments dealing in staple goods to one composed mainly of eateries, cafés, bars, clubs, and specialty shops. Over the past several decades, Ann Arbor has increasingly found itself grappling with the effects of sharply rising land values and gentrification, as well as urban sprawl stretching far into the outlying countryside.

The city takes pride in the service provided to its citizens and the community's well-earned reputation. Recent honors include:

  • 2015 - Highest-paying ZIP code in Michigan, according to U.S. Census data (No. 3), NerdWallet
  • 2015 - Best College City (No. 9), among medium-sized cities,
  • 2015 - Park Design of the Year Award (for Veterans Memorial Park Skate Park), Michigan Recreation and Park Association
  • 2015 - Innovative Park Resources of the Year Award (for citizen pruner program), Michigan Recreation and Park Association
  • 2015 - Nation's Most Innovative Tech Hub (No. 12),
  • 2015 - 50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever (No. 20), College Ranker
  • 2015 - 10 Most Beautiful Towns in Michigan,
  • 2015 - Top 20 Municipal Golf Courses in America (Leslie Park Golf Course),
  • 2014 - Best Digital City (No. 2) for use of technology to create a seamless environment between government and citizens, eRepublic's Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Magazine
  • 2014 - Top Community Well-being, Gallup Healthways
  • 2014 - Top 10 Best City for New College Grads (No. 7),
  • 2014 - Most Educated Cities (No. 1),
  • 2014 - Best Places to Live,
  • 2014 - Top 100 Best Cities to Live (No. 13),
  • 2014 - The 10 Best Midsize Cities to Raise Children (No. 3),
  • 2014- The 10 Most Intelligent College Towns in America (No. 1),
  • 2014 - Top 25 Most Beautiful Cities in America,
  • 2014 - Best Cities for Well-Being (No. 6),USA Today and Gallup
  • 2014 - Times Higher Education World Rankings (No. 15), University of Michigan
  • 2014- Top 25 Ranked Business and Economics Programs with the Best Return on Investment, University of Michigan,
  • 2014- America's Best Main Streets South Main Street, Ann Arbor, The Huffington Post and Fodor's Travel.

Ann Arbor has a Council-manager form of government. The City Council consists of the Mayor and ten Council members, two from each of Ann Arbor's five wards. One half of City Council is elected in annual partisan elections. Members serve two-year terms.

The Mayor is elected on a partisan ballot every even year. The Mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council and appoints all Council committee members and members of many boards and commissions, with the approval of City Council.

Vision, Mission, and Values
The City of Ann Arbor's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.

The Position
The City Administrator is responsible for managing the operations of the city and reports directly to the City Council as set forth in by the City Charter. The City Administrator directs, supervises and coordinates the work of Safety Services, Public Services, Community Services, Financial and Administrative Services, Human Resources Services, Communications, the City Clerk and additional services as the Council may, from time to time, designate.  The City Administrator leads strategic planning, goal setting and policy development in support of the City's Guiding Principles and Goals. The City Administrator is responsible for creating and sustaining the City of Ann Arbor as a results-oriented organization through expertise in organizational effectiveness, performance, measurement and budget accountability. Additional duties and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Plan, coordinate and administer programs, inter-service area projects, contracts, events and studies.
  • Plan, administer and evaluate management programs and policies related to the City Administrator's office.
  • Lead, direct and supervise the City's Service Areas and direct reports.
  • Lead the budget process and assemble the budgets as prepared by the Service Areas and present the same to the Council, with the recommendations, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the City Charter.
  • Working with the various Service Area Administrators, establish reporting procedures to ensure timely knowledge of the Service Areas businesses, including periodic or special reports as he/she or the Council may deem necessary.
  • In case of conflict of authority between administrative units, or in case of absence of administrative authority occasioned by inadequacy of Charter or ordinance provisions, resolve the conflict or supply the necessary authority, so far as may be consistent with law, the Charter, and the ordinances of the city, and direct the necessary action to be taken, making a full report immediately to the Council of the problem, action taken and recommendation for corrective legislation.
  • Attend all meetings of the Council, with the right to take part in all discussions, but without the right to vote.
  • Recommend to the Council, from time to time, such measures as he/she deems necessary or appropriate for the improvement of the City or its services.
  • Furnish the Council with information respecting the City's affairs and prepare and submit such reports as may be required, including an annual report which shall consolidate the reports of the several administrative units.
  • Possess such further powers and perform such additional duties as may be granted to or required of him/her, from time to time, by the Council, so far as may be consistent with state law and the City Charter.

Related Work

  • Oversee various studies and analyses; coordinate and assemble the findings and recommendations of the Service Area Administrators related to various systems, programs, procedures and administrative practices.
  • Provide leadership on issues of organizational culture, communication and community relations.
  • Collaborate with Human Resources Services to determine leadership development needs and to design and sponsor leadership development programming for the city.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Knowledge of:

  • Functions of City Council and City government and associated Boards and Commissions
  • Public Sector collective bargaining environments
  • Multi-cultural environments where issues are openly debated
  • Principles and best practices of financial management, municipal organizations, public administration, leadership development, executive coaching and change management
  • Principles and techniques of public relations
  • Outstanding customer service principles and practices
  • Large multi-service organizations with full development and administration of budgets
  • Contemporary management principles and supervisory practices
  • Pertinent City, County, State and Federal laws, regulations and ordinances

Skills and Abilities

  • Supervise a large multi-service organization, including development and administration of the budget and associated city goals and objectives
  • Develop and sustain positive working relationships with senior University of Michigan administrative personnel
  • Demonstrate successful working relationships in a partisan political environment
  • Demonstrate excellent communication skills including advanced techniques in facilitating communication among various city components and constituencies
  • Engender trust and demonstrate advanced interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate team leadership by guiding collaborative efforts, direction and focus, while delegating authority appropriately
  • Take strong initiative and lead innovation, and implement city initiatives effectively
  • Lead an organization without need of personal recognition or ego gratification
  • Develop strong professional staff, provide feedback, guidance and opportunities for development
  • Work with Council in an honest, forthright manner while maintaining focus on the goals and objectives of the organization
  • Provide leadership to the Council and also accept direction from the Council
  • Accept criticism in a mature manner and not be unduly influenced by special interests or factions
  • Demonstrate a strong sense of personal values and listen and process different viewpoints calmly and rationally
  • Demonstrate organizational awareness by understanding and championing the identities and respective roles of the Administrator, City Service Areas, Mayor and Council, Boards and Commissions, community organizations and citizens
  • Demonstrate personal confidence and work directly with all elements of the community, including the business community, special interest advocacy groups, neighborhood associations and minority groups

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate will have:

  • Extensive experience in public sector management, preferably as a City Administrator or City Manager in a city with a population of over 50,000, or as a County Administrator in an urban setting which has a wide diversity of cultural, political, and service issues
  • Experience must include direct responsibility for management and supervision of a large multi-service organization with full responsibility for development and administration of the budget
  • Experience with a major university, and prior experience with developing positive working relationships with senior university administration personnel would be a definite asset
  • Candidate must have experience in a multi-cultural and politically active environment where issues are openly debated. A background that includes serving in positions that required active community contact and open communications between citizens, council, and staff is necessary

Interested candidates should possess a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university in Public or Business Administration or related field; a Master's degree is preferred.

The City of Ann Arbor is offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package. Relocation assistance will also be available for a successful out of area candidate.

How to Apply
Applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: AACA2015

*Candidates desiring confidentiality of their interest, as allowed for and provided by Michigan law, must indicate such in a separate subject line above the body of the cover letter. 

Affion Public
2120 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Fax: 717-214-8004

The City of Ann Arbor is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.


Deadline to receive resumes is January 28, 2016

Posted: 03/22/2022