Larry Nielsen, who has been village manager at Paw Paw for the past 10 years, has been selected as interim city manager at Wayland.
Nielsen, who has 32 years of experience in municipal government, will start Oct. 9 or sooner if possible. Because he retired Aug. 31, he is taking a vacation and will not be available until next month. In the meantime, City Finance Director Cheri Parrish will be acting city manager. She was appointed to the post at a special meeting Aug. 28.
Council interviewed two candidates, Nielsen and Terry Hofmayer of Holland, who was the interim city manager who fired Police Chief Dan Miller in April 2012 while filling in after Chris Yonker was dismissed the previous fall.
Though Mayor Tim Bala spoke glowingly of Hofmayer for his work here
five years ago, some council members said they thought he was abrupt with his answers in his interview and didn’t seem all that interested in the position.
“I’ve worked with Terry before, and I thought he did a wonderful job,” the mayor said. Bala cast the only dissenting vote in a 6-1 decision.
Councilwoman Tracy Bivins said she wasn’t convinced it’s necessary to have the interim start right away and insisted Parrish did a laudable job in the interim a couple of years ago after Mike Selden left and Tim McLean succeeded him.
Councilman Rick Mathis agreed, saying, “I want the right candidate, not just the candidate who can start the earliest.”
One of the most important functions Nielsen will have is guiding the council through the process of finding a new city manager to succeed McLean, who left Aug. 25 and is getting married on the east side of the state this Friday.