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August 04, 1979 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-08-04

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Page 10-Saturday, August 4; 1979-The Michigan Doily
City Hail'did its homewoirk' under Murray
By JULIE ENGEBRECHT have been resolved, not to the satisfac- City Planning Director Martin cern for our programs.

The people who work for City
Administrator Sylvester Murray
characterize him as a demanding boss,
a business executive, and something of
a workaholic who expects the same
from his subordinate city executives.
He is also described being at his best
when he is under pressure, and many
city employees acknowledge the lack of
"excitement"- in Ann Arbor was
probably his primary reason for
leaving the city.
"If you present him with something,
you have to sell it to him and you have
to have all the answers to his questions
ready," said Ann Arbor Police Chief
Walter Krasny.

tion of everyone, but at least they've
been resolved," according toKrasny.
"He'll make a decision. You'll not
always agree with it, of course, but his
decisions have been in the best interest
of the city. He doesn't show
favoritism," Krasny added.
"I LIKED HIS management ap-
proach," said city Solid Waste Director
Ulysses Ford. "He takes time to ex-
plain the facts. If he didn't like
something you gave him, be wouldn't
put 'no' on it but would let you know
why he didn't like it and work
something out.
"You really had to back up what you
said;" Ford added. "He wouldn't climb

Overhiser said Murray had done a par-
ticularly good job in dealing with the
Republican-Democratic split in City
Council. "He was a real tough ad-
ministrator," Overhiser said.
"We've always relied on him to help
us out," said Community Development
Director Laurie Wargelin. "I think he"
has always shown a great deal of con-

"He's handled things in a highly
professional manner and he's deman-
ding," she added.
Robert Treadway, director of per-
sonnel and human relations for the city,
said the people Murray hired were
"capable and compassionate." Tread-
way also said he has seen Murray per-
form best while "under fire."

'If you present him with something, you have
to sell it to him and you have to have all the
answers to his questions ready.'
-Walter Krasny,
Ann Arbor Police Chief
DESCRIBING MURRAY as a all over you because you made a
salesman both to City Council and mistake. You could disagree as long as
others with whom he deals in city you could prove your point.
relations, Krasny concluded that the "He let you know his decisions could
administrator has a "very sharp eye be changed, but you'd have to make a
with the budgets," and had dealt well solid case. He really made you do your
with city financial matters. homework," he said.
Ford added that Murray had asked
erasny said Murray was particutarly city executives never to make their
effective in strike situations and was subordinates "feel less. He opposed
well-equipped to deal with the problems embarrassing and belittling people."
Cincinnati (the site of his new post), FORD ALSO said he was concerned
would have in police and firefighter about what would happen with the
negotiations. progress of minorities and females in
In the six years that Murray has held top level positions in the city ad-
his post in Ann Arbor, "many problems ministration after Murray leaves.

Area politicians examine
Murray ' tenure in office
('oninued from Page
city charter was re-written to include a ran close to $2 million." The city is now
blend of professional and political reimbursed only for fire and police
leadership. protection, money which Larcom said
Part of Murray's job has been the city gradually increased through
creating a cooperative working negotiations over the last eight years.
relationship with the mayor and City Latta said, "Larcom got out before
Council. He has served under three some of the fiscal stuff came through
mayors: James Stephenson, from 1973 and Murray will leave before the
to 1975, Albert Wheeler, from 1975 to program results come through." He
1977, and Louis Belcher, from 1977 to explained that Murray does not savor
the present. Stephenson and Belcher the budget constraints a recession will
both had the support of Republican bring, along with compensating for
majorities on Council, and Wheeler-had delinquent contributions to the city
to contend with a 5-5 Democratic- pension fund, and contracting out city
Republican split, with one HRP Council services to save money.
member his first year, and a 7-4 HE ADDED Murray is a "good crisis
Democratic minority the second. manager, he knows how to sort out the
Murray inherited a city in serious essential steps to make a decision."
fiscal shape, a situation he restored to After restoring city finances to
solvency. Murray's budgetary abilities solvency, weathering the investment
and the practice of asking Council for scandal of 1977, and "giving the city
general budget priorities in advance of some resemblance of organized leader-
its actual preparation were lauded by ship," Latta said Murray 'has been
Larcom and several Council members. ready for a "trade-up."
LARCOM SAID yesterday he served Latta speculated that Murray is not
City Council during the years of Ann leaving for more "money or prestige,
Arbor's rapid physical expansion, a but raw power." Cincinnati's city
concurrent demand for increased manager is not constrained as much as
revenues and civil rights turmoil. He Ann Arbor's by its City Council's
said he had to finesse not only the policies, according to Larcom.
mayor, but ,three political parties: "Mayors spend a lot more time in
Republicans, Democrats and the left- City Hall in Ann Arbor, (which, com-
wing Human Rights Party (HRP). He pared to other city manager systems)
also said he did not have the budgetary is unusual," Larcom said.
flexibility provided by Community STEPHENSON SAID of Murray, "I
Development Block Grants, from which didn't observe any weaknesses in him
the city gets over $1 million per year at all. Sy understands very well the
that is mainly spent on physical im- distinction between career employees
provements. who can carry out that policy (which
"We ran into a deficit because we the mayor and City Council set)."
tried to do more than we had money Belcher was equally laudatory of the
for," Larcom said. He added that outgoing administrator. He said he
during his tenure the city lost "a big hopes Murray's successor has the same
chunk of money from the University qualities: "hard-nosed, a good rapport
because the state set a policy of no with non-politicians, compassion to
reimbursements - payments which meet with individual citizens when
necessary, a strong financial
background, a good record in recom-
mending personnel - the same type of
person as Mr. Murray."
"In my situation, he could do things
he wanted to do," Wheeler said. "On
TONIGHT-$ PM most things we agreed, but on some
budget priorities, we differed."
Greenberg and Latta said they expect
Murray's engineering administrative
assistant Godfrey Collins to be appoin-
ted interim City Administrator.
"He's a very fair man; there will be
no problem from the Democrats in con-
firming him as acting City Ad-
Belcher said the search for Murray's
replacement will probably include
about 150 applicants due to the attrac-
by William1 tiveness of the position. He said he wan-
Shakespeare ts to emulate the University Board of
Regents' presidential search, but not
Power Center the secrecy with which it was conduc-
ted "Good grief, no, it will all be public,
except the interviews (City Council
POWER CENTER Box Office opens a conducts with applicants)." He added
6pm, 763-3333. he expects there will be some type of ad
TOMORROW: hoc citizens committee to advise Coun-
%misMuchAdoAh w Notleg cil

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