ALPENA - When Greg Sundin was appointed to serve as interim city manager after the termination of former manager Thad Taylor he did so reluctantly. As time passed he realized he was a good fit for the position and applied for the job full-time. During a special Alpena Municipal Council meeting Saturday the council voted 5-0 to hire Sundin as the city manager.
When asked during the meeting why he wanted to be city manager, Sundin used a story from his childhood and how it helped him decide to go for the job. He said as a boy he played hockey and always wanted to be goalie. He said on one occasion the team's regular goalie was unable to play and then the coach asked for a volunteer to play the position, he remained mute. He said since that day he has wondered if he could have succeeded as a goalie. He said he was not going to let the same thing happen with the city manager position.
When Sundin received word from Mayor Matt Waligora he said he felt a sense of relief and pride, but he also understands the work he has ahead of him and the expectations attached to the job.
"It is always your hope that you will get it and to be honest it feels good," Sundin said. "One you know you have the job you do get hit with the expectations and you know you will get judge accordingly. I will do my best and it will be up to the council to judge my performance. Any shortcomings certainly won't be from a lack of effort."
Sundin said he didn't know how the interview would go and what information the council members would request. He said he thought he may have a slight advantage because of the time he has put in with the city already.
"I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I was the only one in the field that lived and worked in the city so I thought that may work to my advantage some, but I was not sure what the council was going to ask," Sundin said. "Originally I wasn't scheduled to be the first one interviewed, but after the first meeting was canceled the schedule was changed and I was first. I didn't really like that at first, but then I just went in and did it and it turned out OK."
Sundin and the other candidates were questioned for 90 minutes during the interview proces. Because Sundin was first it left him with a lot of free time on his hands while the other applicants took their turn. He said as the hours slipped away the stress level elevated.
"The most difficult part was when I knew later in the afternoon that the interviews were over and they were probably making their decision. All I could do was wait and wonder what was being discussed," Sundin said. "Then I got the call from the mayor and it felt really good."
Even though Sundin has said on numerous occasions that if he weren't hired to be the manager, he would be content to moving his office back upstairs at city hall and continuing on as planning and development director and there would be no animosity. He admitted, however, that he would have been somewhat hurt is another was hired.
"You try not to think about it but if I would not have been hired I would have been disappointed, just as I'm sure the other three candidates are today," Sundin said. "If you wouldn't be then you probably weren't the right person for the job to begin with."
Sundin said he wanted to thank the administrations staff and all of the employees in the various city departments for the hard work and dedication they showed during the last year when there were a lot of questions surrounding the city's direction. He said in order to have Alpena be the best it can be, it is going to need that teamwork to continue.
"The admin staff has been invaluable to me and every employee has helped with everything they do," Sundin said. "Everything I have done was not done in a vacuum it takes everyone. Nobody can make a big difference or accomplish anything if you work alone."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.