Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sumpter trustees name township administrator

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees promoted Michelle Cole to the job of township administrator during their regular meeting last week.

Cole, currently the finance director and deputy supervisor for the township, will continue at her current $93,000 annual salary and will receive no raise for taking on the new title.

Members of the board praised Cole's work and her efforts on behalf of the township and noted that she currently is performing the duties of an administrator without the title.

Trustee Matt Oddy said that he agreed with the decision.

“Elected officials come and go,” he said. “We need someone in a position that transcends elections, somebody in place who has the knowledge to run the township. I think this protects the residents,” he said.

Oddy noted, “It is extremely costly to lose a knowledge base. We've seen that in our treasurer's office where we have to spend money on training. This move will stabilize the township and stabilize the knowledge base.

 “I think this is a positive move.” 

In response to a question from Trustee Don LaPorte, township attorney Rob Young explained that the move would require Cole as the township administrator to work at the pleasure of the entire board. 

“It seems she has been doing that for quite awhile. She handles issues from nearly every department every day. It is a good idea to have one person at the helm and responsible. She's been doing the job and is willing to keep doing it,” Young explained.

LaPorte explained that he has had conversations with Cole and “she cares very deeply about the township. 

“I was surprised at how much she is willing to do and does. I think the township needs a point person at township hall,” he said.  

Trustee Peggy Morgan cast the only no vote on the change in title for Cole with Clerk Esther Hurst excused from the meeting.

Cole was hired as the township finance director in August of 2019. At that time, she had 20 years of progressive municipal finance experience, starting with Plante Moran and moving on to division finance officer for the Genesee County Water Authority in Flint; she served as the workforce management consultant for KRONOS; a regional territory manager for New World Systems, Troy; chief financial officer for Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority and as consultant from 2012 until 2019.