Village Manager Cara Pavlicek does not intend to leave Oak Park or actively search for new employment after not landing the city administrator position in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

“I’m not looking every single day at trade journals or any of those things,” Pavlicek told Wednesday Journal. “I’m glad to be here.”

The opportunity to apply for Ann Arbor city administration, Pavlicek said, just happened to “kind of fall [her] way.”

Pavlicek performed well during the interview process, becoming one of two finalists for the job after a nationwide search to replace the previous city administrator who was terminated in February. 

However, Pavlicek lost out on the gig to the city’s internal candidate. Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Sept. 14 to offer the position to Tom Crawford, the city’s interim city administrator and chief financial officer.

During the meeting, Council member Ali Ramlaw thanked Pavlicek for her time and her efforts, calling her a “dynamite candidate, one that made this decision that much harder and one that really deserves recognition and appreciation.”

Oak Park village staff were all made aware beforehand that Pavlicek had been selected as a candidate for the city administrator role in Ann Arbor. 

 “I think I was really clear with employees when I talked to them about it,” said Pavlicek. “It’s an unusual profession in that it’s so public when you do accept an interview in another community.”

Pavlicek called the recruitment process of filling top level administrative roles in local government “very, very lengthy” and that there is a “very, very small chance of being the right match.”

“You go into these processes knowing that there’s going to be some public scrutiny because of the way they just unfold and there’s a very small likelihood that you may actually end up being offered a job,” Pavlicek said.

Her decision to go after the role did not affect her relationships with Oak Park village board members; in fact, Pavlicek said they were “very gracious” and “very professional” about the situation.

“They were saying like, ‘We understand you’re doing this, but we also understand that you’re continuing to work with your focus on Oak Park,” Pavlicek said.

Pavlicek decided to go after the city administrative position because she felt like it would be a good match for her personally and professionally.

“There aren’t communities like Oak Park very often that would be an opportunity to expand and work at a higher level,” Pavlicek said. “And by higher level, for a village manager, that typically means a larger community.”

While working in a smaller community can be “incredibly professionally challenging and rewarding,” Pavlicek was intrigued by the idea of working for a larger community and delivering services to a greater number of people.  

Despite not getting the position, Pavlicek has positive feelings toward Ann Arbor.

“I know that Ann Arbor has a wonderful new manager,” said Pavlicek. “I’m happy for them. I have plenty of work to do here.”

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