East Lansing’s City Clerk Jennifer Shuster has tendered her resignation. Deputy City Clerk Kathryn Gardner submitted her resignation last week.
These resignations add to a wave of departures of key city staff that began in advance of City Council deciding to terminate the contract of City Manager George Lahanas last month.
ELi found out about this latest pair of resignations from a tip that came into our portal. A call to the city resulted in confirmation from the communications department.
The City Clerk’s office is responsible for running elections in the city, maintaining records, and handling Freedom of Information Act requests, among other duties. Shuster took over as City Clerk from Marie Wicks in 2018.
Council has yet to announce any plans for finding a permanent city manager appointee. No discussion of the matter came up at the last council meeting. At the moment, Police Chief Kim Johnson is acting city manager and former fire chief Randy Talifarro will become interim city manager starting on Feb. 13.
The Department of Public Works has been operating with engineer Nicole McPherson as interim director since Scott House took a leave in Spring 2021 to provide service to the U.S military.
Last summer, Finance Director Jill Feldpausch left to take a job with the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. Audrey Kincaide has been serving as acting finance Director.
Director of Planning and Deputy City Manager Tom Fehrenbach left last month to take a job as Director of Real Estate with the State of Michigan. Zoning and Planning Administrator Peter Menser has taken over that position as interim. Two other members of the planning department recently resigned their posts: Community and Economic Development Administrator Adam Cummins and Senior Planner Darcy Schmitt.
Shelli Neumann recently left her post as director of human resources, with no permanent replacement named there. Ben Dawson is interim director of HR.
An interim or replacement for Shuster’s position has not yet been publicly named, nor do we have information about a replacement for Gardner.
Update, Feb. 2, 3:15 p.m.: The City of East Lansing released a statement:
“Following five years of dedicated service to the City of East Lansing, East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster is moving on to a new job opportunity with the Michigan Senate. Shuster’s last day will be Friday, Feb. 10.
“Marie Wicks will be appointed as the Interim City Clerk by Acting City Manager Kim Johnson upon Shuster’s departure date. Wicks served as the East Lansing City Clerk prior to Shuster and served for 12 years at the City of East Lansing prior to her departure in 2018 for a new job opportunity.”