2014-01-09 / News

Getting into the swing

Meetings, planning keep new city manager busy
BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com


Back home ... Adam Zettel settles in to his office on his first day as Swartz Creek City Manager. 
Photo by Lania Rocha Back home ... Adam Zettel settles in to his office on his first day as Swartz Creek City Manager. Photo by Lania Rocha SWARTZ CREEK – A ferocious wind swooped down and flung sugary flakes from the roof of Swartz Creek city hall Thursday afternoon.

"This is a different kind of snow (for plowing)," said Adam Zettel, watching the snow tumble and swirl outside the window of his office. "The extremely low temperatures and flurries are keeping a constant threat of slippery roads."

On a day like this 15 years ago, Zettel would have been driving a plow for the city.

Today, he is city manager, having officially taken office Thursday, just as a bitter winter blast descended upon city.

"They (Department of Public Services crews) will probably be out at 5 a.m. to clear the roads," he said as he dashed off a quick email.

Zettel succeeds Paul Bueche, who resigned in December due to health concerns.

His first day in his new role started at 7:30 a.m. at the Kiwanis Club breakfast meeting. Though he is a Kiwanian, he also was the guest speaker that day.

He said he arrived at city hall a little later than he'd hoped, and began tackling the typical first-day-on-the-job housekeeping.

"It took about an hour to go through a month's worth of mail," said Zettel. "I got the computer up and running and made sure I had all the connections. I met with staff."

Zettel also met with Clerk Juanita Aguilar, DPS Director Tom Svrcek and Police Chief Rick Clolinger to establish priorities.

"Time flew by for a while in this chair," Zettel said of his day.

There was also the matter of the clock that was propped up on the sofa when Zettel reported for duty.

"I think they painted in here," he said, scanning the bare walls of his new digs. "But they seem to have filled in all the holes, and I can't figure out where that clock was."

It's not likely to find a home any time soon. Zettel admits he's not much for decorating, and the walls will probably remain as they are, void of ornamenta- tion.

As time allowed, Zettel worked on a to-do list, which included obtaining storm water permits, codifying ordinances, initiating more joint operating agreements with neighboring communities, hammering out details of employee healthcare, tackling the problem of aging infrastructure and reviewing the master plan.

"Swartz Creek has a good vision, it knows exactly what it wants to be," said Zettel. "What Swartz Creek wants is quality of life, and that means quality neighborhoods with sufficient core services nearby. It will always be a bedroom community, where residents want good streets, good parks and good homes."

A Gaines Township resident, Zettel was first hired to work for the Department of Public Services in 1999, and eventually became assistant city manager.

He left that job in 2010 when he became assistant city manager in Owosso, where he worked until last month. Through that time, however, he continued to serve Swartz Creek as zoning administrator.

Zettel has bachelor of arts degrees in public administration and political science from the University of Michigan - Flint, and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

He and his wife, Stephanie, are graduates of Swartz Creek High School. They have two young sons, Taylor and Roland.

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