Cass City Village Manager Peter Cristiano said Monday he plans to retire in 2017.
Cristiano, 73, said his original plan was to retire Feb. 1, but the village of Cass City’s attorney has to review his contract first.
Cristiano told The Advertiser later that several village council members asked him to stay until two grocery stores planned for Cass City come to fruition.
“I have plans to retire, and the plans were to leave by Feb. 1, to give enough time to the things that had to be done” Cristiano said in a discussion that lasted about 30 seconds during Monday’s village council meeting. “The attorney called, and he wants to look at the contract first…and everyone has agreed that be done first.
“I’m not trying to stretch the time,” he said.
Cristiano later told The Advertiser that he “hadn’t looked at the contract in 10 years,” but that it has certain conditions with regard to his leaving the position.
Cristiano said that review will likely take place by the end of the week.
“I’m supposed to make a proper announcement and give so much time to replace me,” Cristiano said, adding that he couldn’t recall the details. (Listen to Cristiano announce his retirement plans in the audio clip below. Story continues under clip.)
Cristiano, 73, has served as Cass City Village Manager since 2005.
Cristiano relocated to the Thumb region post-retirement from the private sector in metro Detroit.
His professional background includes serving as vice president of corporate development for the former Capital Cities Communications, which would eventually go on to become Disney-ABC Television Group through a series of mergers and acquisitions that began in 1985.
He also started several tech companies and was one of the founders of the Oakland County Economic Development Corp. (now rebranded as AdvantageOakland) and Oakland County Business Finance Corp.
Before going into the private sector, Cristiano worked for the city of Southfield for more than 20 years starting in 1960 and in roles ranging from parks and recreation director and deputy city manager to eventually serving on the Southfield City Council for 15 years.
In the early 2000s, he moved to Caseville after retiring.
However, in 2005, Cass City was searching for a village manager and having difficulty finding suitable candidates, he said.
Cristiano said he stepped up, offering to take on the position and help the village “for three months, six months, whatever it took.”
“That was about 12 years ago,” he said.
Accomplishments the village has seen in the timeframe include building a new arsenic treatment plant, and the opening of the Dairy Farmers of America factory, and many more. The village also is currently in the process of working with two developers to bring new grocery stores into town.
Cristiano said he “has enjoyed every minute of being in Cass City” and “probably” will remain in Michigan’s Thumb region.
“It’s a great community and I’ve loved it,” he said. “But it’s about time I took some time for myself.”
Replacing Cristiano will not be easy.
As The Advertiser reported about a month ago, there are eight other municipalities in the state of Michigan searching for new managers.
Caro is one of them and in the midst of looking for a city manager after Jared Olson unexpectedly resigned effective immediately Oct. 3.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org