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The council voted 3 2 Tuesday night against renewing the contract for O’Neal, who was first hired in 2000 after spending 24 years in municipal government in Oakland County.

O’Neal, 55, who still resides in Oakland County, did not address his status at the council table. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday as he had left for a previously scheduled vacation.

Austin, along with council members Veronica Klinefelt and Ron Selvidge, opposed an extension on the contract, which expires in June. Council members Suzanne Pixley and Bill Sweeney who were elected in November said they hadn’t worked with the manager long enough to make an informed decision.

“If you’re going to do this, you really should have some type of evaluation so we know what caused the problem,” Pixley said.

Klinefelt said she would not give a definitive reason for her vote. Selvidge said he felt it was simply time to move in a new direction.

“This is the hardest decision I’ve had to make on council,” Selvidge said. “I like Wayne,
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we get along very well. But I think we’ve become stagnant lately and I’d like to see some more economic development in Eastpointe.”

At least one resident questioned the council’s move.

“This to me is shocking, appalling,” said homeowner Bonnie Manoogian. “Seriously, I’d like to know why. I don’t he should go out like this. It’s just wrong.”

O’Neal, who replaced former longtime manager West McAllister in May 2000, was hired for his strong background in labor relations and downtown development. He had been employed as a manager in several Oakland communities.

This past year was a rocky one for the manager after voters turned down a 7 mill tax increase last summer, which resulted in the closure of the recreation center, senior center and layoffs in other departments. Residents in November approved the tax hike, which allowed most of the cutbacks to be restored.

O’Neal, who was a candidate for a similar job in Grosse Pointe Woods two years ago, narrowly was retained by Eastpointe in 2004 on a 3 2 council vote. The council implemented stricter limits on his vacation and sick day payouts and did not grant him a pay raise that year.
timberland mens sandals Eastpointe fires city manager