By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Skipper Marine Development is facing the loss of its pending second five-year contract with the city for management of the Clinton Marina after a 5-0 vote by the Clinton City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Tuesday to terminate the contract.
“The five-year contract, that’s out. So it’s going to have to be terminated Dec. 31, in my mind,” Councilman Charlie Mulholland, at-large, said.
The Clinton Committee of the Whole on Tuesday voted 5-0 to terminate the contract with SMD, which would have been automatically renewed on Dec. 31 if the Council had not taken any action.
Member Jennifer Graf was absent and member Maggie Klaes, who opposed terminating the contract, was not in the room at the time of the vote.
Four people addressed the City Council during the meeting regarding the marina, including current marina manager Debbie Hutchison, who took the position earlier this year.
“We have had a profitable year,” Hutchison said. “All revenues are up a good percentage. I have not become a very popular individual because I stopped free services, I stopped favors, I don’t play favorites.”
Several Council members stated the marina had been better managed this year. At the same time, they expressed dissatisfaction with the operation and management in the previous years.
Councilman Paul Gassman, Ward 4, suggested the contract be altered to span five years with a review of the contract annually that would allow the city to terminate the contract if it was not pleased with services.
“I don’t want to change someone every year unless we’re having problems,” Gassman said.
Because of the change in terms, the city would need to create a request for proposal for the marina operation and management, which SMD would be able to bid for.
Council members also considered a suggestion that the city take over the operation and management of the marina. In addition to his motion to alter the terms of the contract, Gassman requested the city investigate the viability of running the marina for a year in between the contract with SMD, which expires April 30, and whatever new contract is reached.
According to information provided to Council members, city operation of the marina could potentially save the city $60,000 based on the current contract with SMD.
The COW approved the motion to examine both a revision to the contract with the annual reviews included and the proposal for the city to manage the marina for one year. The motion passed 5-1 with Councilwoman Maggie Klaes, Ward 1, casting the dissenting vote.