Today I celebrate the one year anniversary of being the City Manager of Auburn Hills. After having been Assistant City Manager for nearly fourteen years, it was a role that I believe I was prepared for, but also one that I approached with some level of nervousness. Taking on the top management position of a community as sophisticated and dynamic as Auburn Hills seemed like a daunting challenge. One year later, I couldn’t be happier that I did it. Although we’ve had a few bumps in the road due to a couple of key leadership changes (our Treasurer and Finance Director both retired), we’ve continued smoothly forward with a leadership staff that has been nothing less than supportive. Having a well experienced staff of Department Heads has made it easier to manage the overall organization because I know that they can be trusted to do the right thing for the community and its residential and corporate citizens. That goes for the rest of the staff too. We continue to focus on great service delivery, with “bureaucracy” being a little known term in this organization. It was that way with my predecessors and I plan to continue along that path and to maintain that reputation. However, managing a local government post-2008 is certainly not without its challenges. Auburn Hills has lost more than one-third of its taxable value since the great recession, and we’re about to take another substantial hit with the elimination of personal property taxes. That alone impacts us to the tune of more than $3 million annually. It is the job of me and my team, along with the City Council, to make the “new normal” work for everyone.
With a great staff and seven elected officials who know how to come together to get the business of the City accomplished as a cohesive team, I truly expect to start my second year tomorrow with as much enthusiasm, energy and success as the year that was just completed. Thank you to the Auburn Hills community for allowing me the privilege of being your City Manager. And thank you to the City Council and Staff for making me glad I said YES to the position of City Manager.
Tom Tanghe, City Manager