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City Manager Finalist Interview: Brian Kischnick

Troy City Council and city administrators interviewed Tittabawassee Township Manager Brian Kischnick Thursday morning.

In the fourth of , Troy City Council and administrators interviewed Tittabawassee Township Manager Brian Kischnick Thursday morning at Troy City Hall. .

Kischnick is one of five candidates for the position of Troy City Manager, which has been held by  following the departure of  earlier this year. The other four candidates are: , Oakland Township Manager; , Marine City Manager; , Troy Director of Economic and Community Development; and , Farmington City Manager.

5 questions for Brian Kischnick

Troy City Council members and Interim City Manager Mike Culpepper took turns asking questions for nearly 90 minutes Thursday morning. Here are five questions and their answers from Kischnick.

Q: Councilman Dave Henderson asked: "Describe a time when you championed a change in thinking and how you accomplished it."

A: “In Vassar… they were talking about moving the downtown on top of a hill because of flooding. … The city manager fired, a recall, all of the things that can happen in a municipality with strong emotional issues … when a whole downtown is underwater, it’s a big issue. We were able to have several public meetings … to demonstrate why flood mitigation is the better approach. Elevating homes… literally four feet off the ground. Creating flood walls … so that downtown was kind of built in a bowl and didn’t flood. But we were able to get the project underway, to elevate the homes that were just outside … as well as get the flood walls and projects so that the downtown didn’t flood. I just drove through there last night, and it’s doing very well.”

Q: Councilman Jim Campbell asked: "What types of negotiations have you done and what role did you play"?

A: “Land negotiations, labor negotiations, lease negotiations. ... I’ve always been the lead negotiator, and I’ve always enjoyed labor negotiations. The method is this. Collective bargaining goes on every day all year long. If you’re going to come to the table with your five proposals in the briefcase and jus throw them out there, that’s going to lead to an impasse or a lot of resentment. … If it’s outside of the contract and they want to do something, we were willing to do it. … We treat the contract, but not strictly, because we want to treat everyone fairly.”

Q: Councilman Dave Henderson asked: "Give an example of a time when something damaged the public’s confidence and view of city management. How do you fix it?"

A: “In one community I had a department head who oversaw finances who was having some issues and things became interesting an difficult to follow, and that person resigned unexpectedly with an interesting reason, which didn’t really make sense. A staffer and I would do payroll and payable, and I hired a new fiscal services director, but the deputy treasurer brought it to my attention that there were situations where receipts were fabricated and money was missing, ad there were some serious issues. What we did was … a quasi-forensic investigation with State Police. … And the public’s confidence when that happens is very, very low. … We did everything we could to take our time, identify the process we were using, and document everything, meet with a prosecutor, and meet with the State Police to uncover and come to a resolution with the former employee and their attorney. … It’s incumbent upon you to share financial data, explain financial data, have several sets of eyes on financial data, and ensure there are multiple checks and balances to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Q: Councilman Doug Tietz asked: "Imagine city council is split. How do you handle the situation?"

A: “I learned at a young age to navigate the waters of politics and partisan politics and stick to the issues. … The only thing I know is we have differences. We’re always going to have differences, and we need to celebrate and recognize that, because at the end of the day we’re all here for one reason. I don’t care what your political party is … you want Troy to be a better place to live, work and play and grow a business. Politics is the art of compromise. When there’s divisiveness, the technique is to figure out where the similarities exist … and move forward.”

Q: What one thing most interests you about Troy?

A: “One thing? The one thing about Troy is it is very professional and has everything, in my opinion. It’s a great place for your family, and that’s the real answer.”

City Manager finalist interview schedule

Five interviews are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The interviews are televised live on the government channel WTRY (Channel 10 for WOW customers and Channel 17 for Comcast customers) and streamed commercial-free on the city's website. Here is the schedule:

Wednesday, August 29

  • 9-11 a.m.:  James Creech
  • 1-3 p.m.: Vincent Pastue 
  • 3:30-5:30 p.m.: John Gabor

Thursday, August 30

  • 9-11 a.m.: Brian Kischnick
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Mark Miller
  • 3 p.m.: City Council Deliberations followed by Public Comment

More candidate information is available on the City of Troy website

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