Ann Arbor City Council appoints new city administrator in unanimous vote

Ann Arbor resident, interim city administrator Tom Crawford chosen for role

Tom Crawford.
Tom Crawford. (City of Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – In a unanimous vote on Monday, Ann Arbor City Council approved Tom Crawford as the new city administrator.

A longtime Ann Arbor resident, Crawford has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the city since 2004 and recently filled the role of interim city administrator following the firing of Howard Lazarus in February.

During his statement in the virtual session, Mayor Christopher Taylor mentioned council’s abrupt firing of Lazarus.

“Before we move forward, however, I think it’s important that we engage some truths and that is that Mr. Crawford is going to be taking this position subject to challenges that he had no part of making,” Taylor said.

“The fact is that his predecessor’s tenure ended under circumstances that dispirited and angered members of our staff and members of our community. And as the innocent beneficiary of that termination and the resulting selection process, Mr. Crawford is going to assume leadership with a need to build relationships, to build confidence, to build momentum.”

Taylor said he fully supports Crawford’s success as a permanent city administrator and he hopes all current and future councilmembers will support him in the role.

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Councilmember Jane Lumm, I-Ward 2, said Crawford is a vetted candidate for the job, having served three times as interim city administrator over the course of nearly two years.

“Tom has broad appeal and respect,” said Lumm. “Not one councilmember – zero – indicated that they would not recommend Tom. That, I believe, speaks volumes about Tom’s professionalism, his capabilities and skill sets, the fact that he treats everyone with respect and his ability to stay above the political fray.”

She said his knowledge of the community and city government are especially needed during the unprecedented pandemic.

Before working for the city of Ann Arbor, Crawford worked at Ford Motor Co. in the company’s product planning, lending and development units. Crawford holds business degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

After a nationwide search, council voted between finalists Crawford and Cara Pavlicek, the current village manager of Oak Park, Illinois.

Crawford’s new contract is expected to be finalized next month.

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