Walled Lake Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Loyd Cureton quietly retired from his post on Friday, June 17, leaving a significant void in the city.
Now, in addition to running the city’s day-to-day operations, City Manager L. Dennis Whitt must also run the DPW, as well as treasury and finance departments.
“It was rather sudden, but Loyd kept his retirement under wraps,” Whitt said. “We haven’t picked anyone else yet because it falls to me no matter what. We have a good crew that requires little direction.”
Cureton apparently was eligible for early retirement, according to Mayor Pro Tem Linda Ackley.
Whitt is now conducting an assessment of the department before contemplating any changes. There is a lull in DPW activity during the summer.
“Whitt will make sure things get done, but it’s a slower time right now,” Ackley said. “The projects at hand are under control.”
The city will be hard pressed to replace Cureton, however.
“He was the go-to man, and good with the public, consultants and staff,” Ackley noted. “(His retirement) was a surprise to a lot of individuals, but it’s the best choice for him and his family.”
According to his Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) agreement, Cureton cannot discuss any possible employment with the city for 30 days. Once that time frame elapses, he could potentially return as an independent contractor.
“There can be no discussions made between Loyd and the city on whether the potential exists (for him to return) as a consultant until that 30 days expires,” Ackley said. “There’s been no commitment on who will become the DPW director until council approves it. As it is the city manager is in charge.”
While Whitt takes the lead over four different departments, plans are under way to hire a contractor for the treasurer/finance duties. In the interim, the city has hired the current executive director for the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association, Colleen Coogan, to help assess city administration procedures and work alongside auditors.
Coogan has been a financial consultant for 20 years and is experienced in dealing with municipal government employees. She also has expertise in training new government officers.
“Right now she’s on a month-to-month contract and will help close out the year,” Whitt said.
Coogan will earn $65 per hour for her services.
Cureton could not be reached for comment prior to press time.