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home : latest news : local February 5, 2016

7/25/2013 6:02:00 AM
Kingman manager prospect maintains a love of the West
Both candidates meet the public on Wednesday
John Michrina
John Michrina
Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

"I went all over the country," he said, "but the West was my focus and it was beautiful. I never saw anything like it."

Michrina came to public administration after a 25-year career with the Monroe, Mich., police department - the last nine as its chief.

It was in Monroe, a city a bit smaller than Kingman in terms of population, that Michrina was named interim city manager for about five months.

The experience was rewarding enough to convince him to pursue a second career as a city manager.

He obtained a master's degree in public administration and was hired as the city manager of Center Line, Mich., in 2010.

Michrina, 52, will travel to Kingman several days ahead of Wednesday's community forum when he and co-finalist Rick Howard will meet with the public and City Council.

He has no intention of meeting with elected officials or city staff members ahead of time.

"I don't think that would be appropriate," he said. "Part of the reason I'm coming out early is to talk to residents and businesspeople. I hope to augment my knowledge."

Michrina said he was able to watch recently televised City Council meetings and likes what he saw.

"I was glad to see the council on TV," he said. "They get along and that's great, because dysfunctional councils can destroy cities."

Michrina said he researched several cities in the West and Kingman best matched his professional and personal goals.

"This is where I want to go," he said. The married father of two adult children has a simple philosophy about public administration.

"The sooner you realize it's not about you, but about the city, the better off you'll be," he said.

"I think the most important element for a city manager to succeed is relationships. If the manager does not understand the relationship with the city council, then nothing he or she does can be right, because everything is based on flawed information."

As a city manager, he also fosters good relationships with city employees, the business community and residents in general, Michrina said.

"I want them to know I'm there to assist them," he said. "I've seen managers fail to do that too many times. They get carried away with themselves when they are only there to carry out the city council's directives."

Michrina said his police background helps him understand people and he also thinks working in the small city of Center Line will help him in Kingman.

"In a smaller community, you do so much," he said. "You have a much better understanding of all aspects of city government."

Michrina said he's a proven cost-cutter as Center Line was close to bankruptcy when he took over.

"The city was going broke," he said. "We had an ending fund balance of $6,000 and the finance director was already choosing what bills he wasn't going to pay. It was a real challenge because we were really on the ropes."

He was able to cut phone costs by 80 percent and uncovered systematic over-billing of the city's streetlight costs by the local power company. He changed the employees' health plan for a less expensive one that provided more coverage.

He also has experience negotiating with employee unions, he said. Michrina manages 130 employees in Center Line.

As for his management style, Michrina believes the key is consistency.

"People need to know what to expect from you. You can't play favorites and you have to realize it's never about you."

Michrina and Howard, 54, of Discovery Bay, Calif., will tour the community and city facilities on Wednesday before a community forum is held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Council Chambers, 310 N. Fourth Street.

The City Council will interview the candidates the following day and a hiring decision could come shortly afterward.

Mission Bank
Related Stories:
• Kingman picks new city manager
• Two candidates left for Kingman city manager
• Three finalists named for Kingman city manager spot
• Retiring city manager notes changes in Kingman

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Combs

We the citizens of the city of Kingman need to vet these candidates about their views on the 2nt Amendment since they both are coming here from very firearm unfriendly places. We already have one unfriendly in place as the Chief of police as proven by his remarks last year that he see both sides of the gun control issues but he would have to enforce any laws passed by Washington. What wasn’t reported is the he believes that only law enforcement and the military should have firearms.

If we do not want to live in California we need to vet these people and keep that kind of mentality out of our state.

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane Colters

The city/people of Kingman needs to thank Earl Hamlyn of Game Over Productions because he was the first person ever to show the city council meetings on his TV station. I remember his big truck parked at city hall and all the camera in the room.

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