Story by the Greenville Daily News
Elisabeth Waldon-Staff Writer
A new tone was set in Stanton on Tuesday night.
“It’s a new day in Stanton,” Lakeview Village Manager James Freed said after the Stanton City Commission voted 6-0 to approve a one-year contract with him and a shared services agreement with the village of Lakeview.
Freed, 25, estimates he will spend 20 to 30 hours per week in each community. He will earn a salary of $26,414 in Lakeview – plus benefits – and $33,586 in Stanton for a total annual combined salary of $60,000. The village of Lakeview will save about $25,000 as a result of the agreement, which is the first of its kind in the state, according to the Michigan Municipal League.
The Lakeview Village Council is expected to approve the shared services agreement Thursday. Freed is set to begin working for both municipalities Monday.
He plans to pay for and use his own cell phone and laptop as he travels between the two communities, which are about 20 miles apart.
“Welcome aboard,” Stanton Mayor Monica Tissue-Daws told Freed as the audience of two dozen people applauded.
Freed introduced himself and spoke enthusiastically about Stanton’s future.
“You did not just hand over the keys of your city to James Freed,” he said. “I serve at the pleasure of the city commission and the mayor. These are your elected leaders. I am your public servant.”
Freed said he has a passion for local government and local communities because he believes Michigan will rebound there.
“We are the fabric of Michigan. I think if you want to change the world, you might want to start on your local block,” he said. “The reality is, it will take an entire community to restore Stanton and it will take a couple years, but that’s the plan.”
Karl Yoder of Stanton thanked the Stanton City Commission for voting to hire Freed.
“I’ve attended these meetings for nearly six years,” he said with emotion. “I’ve seen money spent that I’ve questioned. Tonight, you’ve made a decision that is the best monetary decision that you ever made in my experience in this city. What this gentleman has said in the past few minutes is just mind-boggling as to what can be for this city. I was impressed with him before. I’m even more impressed with him this evening.”
Commissioner Bonnie Timiney ended the meeting with an important question.
“Are you going to shop at Leppink’s in Lakeview or Stanton?” she asked as the audience laughed.
Freed said he will shop locally at both stores.
“Do I go to Meijer once in a while? Yes,” he added.
By: Elisabeth Waldon
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