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Merriman declines Michigan job



XENIA — Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman has declined a job offer from a town in suburban Detroit and will remain in Xenia he said Thursday.

Merriman was one of two finalists for the city manager position in Lincoln Park, Mich., located approximately 11 miles southwest from downtown Detroit and went through a series of interviews June 17, according to the News Herald in Southgate, Mich.

Current Lincoln Park Emergency Manager Brad Coulter offered Merriman the job about a week ago. Upon declining the job, Merriman and city council members began discussing a contract extension, according to Council President Mike Engle. Merriman was appointed city manager by city council in 2014, early replacing the retired Jim Percival.

“We have a lot of great things started in Xenia,” Merriman said. “We want our family to be part of a community that’s growing and thriving and doing things the right way.”

Merriman said he wasn’t actively pursuing another job.

“I was approached by a search firm,” he said. “I was approached and I was willing to listen. In general it’s good for professionals to understand where they are in the market. It’s never a bad thing to do an interview.”

But after informing council and city staff of the opportunity, Merriman said there was an outpouring of requests for him to stay.

“That spoke to my heart,” Merriman said.

Lincoln Park has a projected 2015-16 budget of just under $40 million and has a population around 38,000 according to the 2010 census. It is currently under emergency management, seeking its first city manager since May 2014. It was placed in financial emergency status after a state review team found the downriver city to have a budget deficit of nearly $90,000, which was expected to grow by $1 million by the end of fiscal year 2014.

“It was a challenging opportunity,” Merriman said. “It’s an honor to be asked.”

Merriman was promoted after serving several years as the assistant city manager. Under Merriman’s watch the city has been able to begin work on a new administration building that includes the renovation of the current city hall to allow the police department to expand out of the basement.

Xenia is also heavily pursuing a family entertainment center and movie theater for Towne Square and Merriman will be around to finish that and see the completion of the facilities project.

“I and the remainder of council are exceptionally pleased that he has decided to stay,” Engle said, adding that he had no issue with Merriman interviewing in Michigan.

“I support that for any and all of the city’s employees,” Engle said.