OSCODA – Todd Dickerson of Maumee, Ohio has been chosen as the director of the Oscoda Township Economic Improvement Committee (EIC).

Approval to hire Dickerson for the contracted position was granted by township trustees, in a 5-1 vote, at their Monday meeting. Clerk John Nordeen was opposed, while Treasurer Jaimie McGuire was not in attendance.

The motion also authorizes Superintendent Dave Schaeffer and the township attorney to negotiate the Economic Improvement Director (EID) contract.

“The contract is going to be the thing that determines this for me, so, I feel out of sorts on how to vote for this,” Nordeen explained. 

He said he would be voting no, not because he’s vehemently opposed to it, but because the contract will be a deciding factor for him.

Upon ranking the applicants, the EIC conducted interviews with four candidates on Oct. 5. They  discussed the EID hopefuls during their Oct. 8 meeting, and formulated a recommendation for the position to the township board.

They have suggested that officials offer Dickerson a three-year contract at $115,000 for the first year, $120,000 for the second year and $125,000 for the third. This is to be paid for out of the property operation and maintenance fund.

When the committee met last Tuesday, members Rose Mary Nentwig, Martin Gayeski, Rhonda Cope and Chair Mark Wygant were joined for the gathering by Schaeffer. Absent was EIC representative David Iler.

Schaeffer provided a spreadsheet, which outlines the annual contract amount for the EID.

As reported, trustees voted 5-2 during their Aug. 26 meeting to offer the EID a salary range of $85,000 to $125,000, depending on qualifications. Opposed were Nordeen and Trustee Jim Baier, who felt the cap was too high. But others, such as Trustee William Palmer, said they feel that in order to attract and secure the right person for the job, the wage has to be appropriate.

“And how this really works is, when you combine medical insurance, dental insurance, vision, life insurance and retirement contributions, you’re looking at that eating upwards of, rounding off, 30 percent of the contract costs,” Schaeffer explained, when sharing the spreadsheet with the EIC.

“Underneath that is 10 percent dedicated to payroll taxes, workman’s comp and the costs associated with establishing your own company and maintaining that, and all the filings associated,” he continued. “So, when you really look at it, 40 percent of this contract – and that’s about what we pay for a township employee full time – when you’re looking at benefits versus the actual take-home wages, it’s upwards of that.”

A draft of the contract lists a starting date of Nov. 1 for Dickerson, which Schaeffer said would be ideal, but is not guaranteed at this point. He added that he would like to have a final version of the agreement ready for possible approval by the township at their next meeting on Oct. 28.

The EIC then discussed the salary for its director, agreeing that $115,000 is a good starting point and, if they are satisfied with Dickerson’s work, he will receive a $5,000 increase in year two and another $5,000 in the third year.

Gayeski noted that the increases may also give the applicant more incentive, in terms of performance.

Assuming that trustees approved the recommendation to hire Dickerson, Nentwig asked if Schaeffer would be able to call him right away and make an offer, which Schaeffer confirmed.

The motion to recommend Dickerson as the new EID, as well as the motion regarding his salary, both passed in a 4-0 vote of the EIC.

According to his resumé, Dickerson is a Michigan native, born and raised in Dundee. He is currently an independent contractor for real estate brokerage firm The Reichle Klein Group in Toledo, Ohio, and is also an independent consultant performing economic development work.

Dickerson states that he is currently working with two communities in Ohio, as well as on a project with DTE Energy in Detroit.

Prior to this, he worked as chief business officer for Control Design Solutions, an automation and control systems integrator providing engineering solutions to food processing, steel processing, automotive and agri-business.

He also worked as vice president of business attraction for Regional Growth Partnership, an economic development agency responsible for marketing and branding Northwest Ohio for the purpose of job creation and capital investment.

Dickerson – who has a human resources degree from the University of Toledo – also spent several years as a business development manager for The Mannik & Smith Group civil/environmental consulting firm.

“As you will see by my resume, I have a wide range of experiences that channel into the economic development space,” he stated in his cover letter. “That experience includes staffing and recruiting (workforce), civil/environmental engineering services (infrastructure & development), regional economic development (business attraction, site selection & asset management) and real estate brokerage where I spend the majority of my time on site selection and industrial development opportunities.”

“What impressed me about him, he asked a lot of questions,” Gayeski said of Dickerson, when discussing the recommendation.

Along with Dickerson, interviews were held with Jim Klarich, Hubbard Lake; Matthew Horning, East Tawas; and Mike Szukhent, Flushing.

Klarich serves as the director of Target Alpena Development Corporation, which functions as the economic development arm of the Alpena Chamber of Commerce.

“My 23 years of private sector experience as an international business development executive provided me with numerous high-level business skills and technical understanding,” Klarich stated.

Horning shared that he recently took an early retirement from his position as treasurer of the City of Ann Arbor, and he was very excited to see the EID position opening.

He is involved with numerous boards/committees, has received several different awards, is a member of multiple governmental associations and has such certifications as public finance administrator and public funds investment manager.

Szukhent’s resumé reads that he is currently the admissions advisor for Northwood University.

Prior to this, he states that he ran the Birch Run Chamber of Commerce and the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and also served as Flushing’s Mayor Pro Tem.