By Mike Kruzman /

The Hartland Township Board of Trustees has made its choice for Township Manager.

Public Works Director Bob West was the Board’s selection, made during the information and discussion portion of their regular meeting, Tuesday night. The manager position had been vacant since March when James Wickman resigned to take a similar role in Saginaw. Following that, the Board hired a consultant who found 37 candidates interested in applying. They were narrowed down to 7 a couple of weeks ago, and then the final 4 were interviewed last week. Tuesday night, Board members were asked to give their top two selections, with West being the only unanimous selection. West has spent the past 8 years as the DPW Director and thus already has a familiarity with the infrastructure projects that are going on throughout Hartland.

Township Supervisor Bill Fountain said West is steady, a great communicator, has an attitude of getting things done, and gets along with staff. Fountain said he believes West will be a great fit for the township.

During discussion, Trustee Joe Petrucci made a passionate plea to fellow board members to consider promoting West up, but not going into a contractual agreement. He pointed to the uncertainties around the economy and incoming state shared revenues, wondering aloud why they would rush into this now. He asked them to be fiscally responsible and try it that way while they get through this period of uncertainty. Trustee Joe Colaianne said he understood that point, but also felt that would be moving the township backwards. He credited the township manager for helping bring the township from of a state of disarray nearly two decades ago to one that is fiscally stable with a recovered and strong bond rating. Trustee Matt Germane said Wickman had told him previously that managers work under a contract in case that political winds change and there is turnover on the board. The contract ensures their job is secure through the turmoil of a change.

The Board unanimously approved West as the selection and the township will now enter contract negotiations with him.