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Wakefield council to swear in new city manager tonight


February 25, 2019


Wakefield — A shift in power will occur after tonight’s meeting of the Wakefield city council as current city manager Richard Brackney turns over the reins to his successor, Robert Brown, Jr.

At a special meeting on Jan. 23, council members voted to offer the job to Brown, 36, of Belding, Mich., and he has been working here with city staff since last Tuesday.

Brackney, who was scheduled to retire on May 24, will end his responsibilities two months early. Brown’s first day as city manager will be Tuesday.

Brown, whose wife and children will move here after the school year ends, told the Globe Friday morning that his first priority will be to get “updates on all the projects.”

On Friday afternoon by phone, Brackney said the past week working with Brown went “very well.”

The current city manager added of his successor, “I think he’s got a good handle on what’s going on. He seems to be a very intelligent man.”

Brackney said Brown shouldn’t have any trouble moving forward and added that council members may ease the transition even more by scheduling a dedicated work session with the new manager to discuss “what their concepts are.”

In relation to his retirement starting earlier than anticipated, Brackney said, “I’ve got a big smile on my face. I’m looking forward to this.”

In a work session last Thursday, council members discussed the following two issues of transition, which will be addressed formally at tonight’s meeting:

—The council will vote to adopt Resolution No. 2019-250 to appoint Brown to his position, effective Feb. 26, 2019.

—The council will vote to address Brackney’s exit in accordance with the following statement: “The benefit package for Richard Brackney will be active until the end of his contract May 24, 2019 and will be paid out at that time. He will receive regular paychecks bi-weekly until May 24, 2019.”

Brown has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science with a concentration in campaign leadership from Southern New Hampshire University.

His previous work was with the three-county Fred Meijer River Valley Trail in Belding. He also engaged in political campaign organizing.

Belding is in Ionia County and is about 100 miles west of Flint. Brown was the only city manager applicant from Michigan.

Tonight’s city council meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. in the council room of the municipal building.


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