Interim City Administrator Milton Dohani Jr. will officially become the permanent city administrator of Ann Arbor after unanimously a vote from Ann Arbor City Council Monday night.
Originally Dahoni was hired as interim city administrator for an 11-month contract starting August 2021. The Michigan Daily sat down from Dohani in November to discuss its goal of ensuring stability in local governance.
“My intention was to come here and work not as a temporary city administrator, but as an administrator to deal with day-to-day affairs as I would if I had been here for 20 years,” Dohani told The Daily in November. “And so by doing that, it allows me to take a fresh look at how we’re structured, how we do the work (and) carefully examine the issues we’re trying to solve.”
At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Christopher Taylor expressed support for Dohani’s immediate approval as city administrator.
“This is a man with great character, intelligence, honesty and great leadership experience,” Taylor said. “He’s clearly and clearly a wonderful city administrator, and we’re incredibly lucky he’s here.”
Prior to Dohoney, the city saw several leaders in the role, but not without controversy. In February 2020, Howard Lazarus was fired for no reason after Fr. 7-4 votes from the council. Then there was Tom Crawford approved as city administrator after the dismissal of Lazarus, but resigned a year after Fr. consequences that Crawford allegedly made discriminatory comments in the workplace. John Fournier took over as acting city administrator, but received complaints for creating a “hostile work environment”.
Board member Ali Ramwali, Branch 5, also expressed his support for Dohani, but described his concern about the lack of public participation in the election of a new administrator. Ramwali said city officials had been sent a poll about their views on Dohani’s influence on the city, and he said that if he had known he was being considered a permanent city administrator, he could have answered differently. The diary cannot check the content of the survey on its own.
“The assessment itself and the feedback we received was rather incomplete,” Ramvali said. “It wasn’t deep in the comments of the executive staff. About 100 city officials responded, and many council members said they had not worked long enough with Mr. Dohani to answer those questions … and yet we are here tonight to make a very important decision. “
Ramwali offered to postpone Dohani’s approval until June 6. Board member Jeff Heiner, Division 1, supported the decision, and the discussion shifted to whether postponing the decision was beneficial to the city.
Taylor expressed his rejection of this petition, citing the fact that Dohani had worked with them for a long period of time, and arguing that there was no need to interview him.
“If you have a rock star, you give him a guitar,” Taylor said. “If you have a city administrator with the skills and abilities of Mr. Dohani, you hand over the city to him.”
Board member Eric Briggs, Branch 5, agreed with this view, arguing that the poll gathered enough responses to demonstrate Dohani’s support from city officials.
“We have had exceptional collaboration with our top executives in this survey,” Briggs said. “His senior staff ratings were above five … That’s an exceptional answer.”
Ramwali argued that it was not Dohani’s views that already existed, but proper process was needed to ensure the right solution to the issue.
“I will not dispute here the positive effect that Dohani gives us and the attributes it has,” Ramwali said. “I’m just asking for proper management to be practiced.”
Board member Elizabeth Nelson, Branch 4, added that she had heard residents complain about the limited amount of time for residents to contribute to previous decisions regarding city administrator appointments. Nelson then read several letters expressing these sentiments, and said she believed the decision was hasty and would provoke a backlash from the public.
“The decision we are considering tonight, unfortunately, underscores and underscores how willing this body is to engage in insincere positions with the clear aim of manipulating public perception,” Nelson said. “Community members look at our meetings and they turn to me to share what they see.”
The council then voted in favor of the postponement. The vote failed, and Ramwali voted for him.
The council then immediately voted in favor of Dahoni’s approval as city administrator, which was adopted unanimously.
The Daily Staff reporter Riley Hoder can be contacted at email@example.com.