Thursday, January 4, 2024

Wayne council members choose new city manager

Diane Webb
Wayne City Council members have chosen Diane Webb as the new city manager.

Webb was selected by a four to three vote of the councilmembers with Mayor John Rhaesa, Mayor Pro Tem Alfred Brock and Councilman Donald Quarles casting the dissenting votes.

Webb told the councilmembers she was looking forward to the new position and that she planned to meet with each of them.

Currently, Webb is the township supervisor in Redford Township. She has served elected terms on the Garden City City Council and the Wayne County Commission.

Despite his negative vote, Rhaesa told Webb he thought she would “do great.” 

“I want the council to be working with the city manager. Our job is to make you successful and our community successful,’ Rhaesa said at the Dec. 19 meeting.

Councilmembers expressed their gratitude to Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong, who's been interim manager since the abrupt resignation of former city Manager Lisa Nocerini. Strong was one of four final candidates under consideration for the job.

“I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with you and move this community forward,” Webb said.

Final candidates for the job, in addition to Webb and Strong, were Mohamed Ayoub and Ken Marten.

Webb will replace Lisa Nocerini, who abruptly resigned in August to take a city manager job near Grand Rapids. Nocerini is a named defendant in an ongoing federal case brought by Mark Blackwell, a city critic who claims Nocerini and other city officials violated his First Amendment rights and falsely accused him of a misdemeanor during a police chief hiring process in 2019.

Multiple council members and city department heads openly supported Strong for the position. He has been serving as interim city manager since Nocerini resigned. He has been with the police department for more than 20 years.

A motion by Councilman Mathew Mulholland to hire Marten failed for lack of a support motion during the meeting. 

Mulholland then voted in favor of naming Webb.

  “I'm excited to see what the City of Wayne can do with a city manager from outside who gives us a breath of fresh air,’’ Mulholland said.