BY MELANIE YOUNG
City officials are expecting a smooth transition when Jim Wagner retires from his city administrator post at the end of February. That’s because the new person taking on the role — Deputy City Administrator and Human Resources Director Scott Church — has spent 25 years becoming well versed on how the city is operated.
He officially assumes the job March 1.
Church was born and raised in Coldwater, and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University, where he earned both a bachelor of science degree and a master of public administration degree. He came to Trenton in August 1992 from the city of Grosse Pointe where he served as assistant to the city manager. His decision to choose this field of work was not by chance.
“I have had an interest in public service and government for as long as I can remember,” Church said.
Church’s appointment to the city administrator position came after discussion with Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack and with Wagner’s full support.
“Jim Wagner has been encouraging me to step up and assume the responsibilities of city administrator for some time now,” said Church.
His appointment was announced to City Council the evening that Wagner announced his retirement. With regard to the upcoming transition, Church feels confident that his years of experience will pay off.
“Jim Wagner has been extremely supportive of me both personally and professionally. It is my hope that I will be able to apply the best and most effective attributes of not only Jim Wagner, but every City Administrator with whom I have worked,” Church said.
He believes that Trenton is blessed with good employees from top to bottom and he has a unique perspective on each of them that will help greatly.
“Given my personal involvement with the hiring and promotion of every employee over the last 25 years, I have the unique benefit of truly knowing the skills and abilities of the vast majority of our employees.”
Church’s leadership style is all about honesty and leading by example. He believes that whether or not someone agrees with him is not as important as establishing an effective and respectful dialogue with them.
“It is essential that others always know and trust that what I am telling them is genuinely what I think or how I feel,” he said.
The city of Trenton’s administration and elected officials have had a busy year. Church sees his top priorities as following up on some of those issues, such as the redevelopment of the DSC/McLouth Steel property, the Riverside Hospital site, and financial preparations for the closure of DTE’s Trenton Channel plant. His other priorities include preparation of the mayor’s proposed budget and negotiation of collective bargaining agreement with all four of the city’s labor unions.
Church is a longtime Trenton resident and has been married to his wife Emilee for 23 years. He has two daughters; Katelyn, who is a sophomore at Adrian College, and Libby, who is a senior at Trenton High School. He is looking forward to his new position.
“It is a great honor to be appointed as the next city administrator. I am very proud of my past contributions and look forward to continued service to an outstanding community.”