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East Lansing terminates contract with city manager, appoints new council member

City of East Lansing
Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 18, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. — East Lansing City Council has decided to dismiss City Manager George Lahanas.

City leaders voted unanimously to approve a separation agreement with Lahanas, who has worked in his position for more than a decade, during Tuesday night's special meeting.

It's not clear exactly why council wanted to terminate his contract, which still had two years left, however several members said the decision was not made with malice.

“This is truly just a desire to go in a different direction," said Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg. "This is not a reflection of any malfeasance or any mismanagement.”

“There’s nothing bad or anything out there, you’re not going to find scandal, there’s nothing out there like that that creates a necessity for this," said Mayor Ron Bacon.

Lahanas will receive a severance pay of $172,896 and $46,035 for unused paid time off.

The council also approved retired Fire Chief Randy Talifarro to be the interim city manager starting Feb. 13. Assistant City Manager Tom Fehrenbach will take on the role until Friday, his last day with the city. After that, Police Chief Kim Johnson will handle those responsibilities until the Feb. 13.

In other East Lansing City Council news, they filled the fifth seat left empty by former council member Lisa Babcock, who was elected to be the 54B District Court judge.

Noel Garcia Jr. was voted unanimously into the position.

Council conducted interviews over the weekend with five finalists selected from a pool of applications.

Garcia will serve on the council for nine months to fill out the remainder of Lisa Babcock's term.

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