Dexter Has Found Its Next City Manager

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Justin Breyer is Dexter’s new City Manager. Photo courtesy of Justin Breyer.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

The Dexter City Council has extended an offer to Interim City Manager/City Clerk Justin Breyer for the job of City Manager. All that is left to finalize the decision is hammering out and approving a new contract.

Breyer brings a wealth of experience and talent to the position and is eager to begin his new role officially.

“I want to see this City succeed,” says Justin in a conversation with the Sun Times News. “I would like to think that I’m in a unique position to be able to help do that.”

Justin attended Oakland University with a double major in history and political science. He intended to go on to law school to become an attorney. But after watching some friends go down that career path and the challenges it presented, Justin switched routes and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Oakland University in 2012. Justin then went to work for the City of Troy, gaining experience with the City’s various departments. In his role with the City, he also worked with the Troy Public Library helping manage its capital improvement projects and grant programs.

Justin came on board with Dexter in January 2015, two months after the village voted to become a city. He filled two positions—Assistant to the City Manager and City Clerk. During this time, Justin has had a hand in just about everything happening in Dexter. He has been the city staff liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Committee. He helped plan the playground at Lion’s Park and the new section of the Mill Creek Park Trail, to name a few of the notable projects he has helped plan for the City. As City Clerk, Justin has overseen around 14 elections.

As if two roles weren’t already enough, last November, the City Manager job opened up, and Justin took on the position of Interim City Manager in addition to his existing responsibilities until a new City Manager could be hired. In the eight months since then, very few if any issues have been dropped by Justin. And it has not been business as usual either for the City. COVID safety restrictions had to be managed for the City. New city offices were researched and purchased. An empty council seat needed filling. He also needed to be available for two new council members as they acclimated to their new role. And, of course, the endless fire station talk keeps staff busy shuffling and reshuffling reams of information.

Justin applied for the City Manager position along with other qualified candidates. One clear advantage Justin had over the other applicants was that he had already shown that he could do the job while doing his other full-time job as City Clerk and Assistant to the City Manager. The Council chose to extend an offer to Breyer.

When asked why he applied for the City Manager position, Justin replied, “Because I love the City of Dexter. In the last six-and-a-half years, I’ve grown to know the community and its people. I care very much about all of them.”

As far as what he sees for the future of Dexter, Justin points to completing the purchase of new city offices. After that, “City Council has made it very clear that dealing with the fire facilities is a major priority,” he says. Other projects in the pipeline include the City’s trail system and connecting to the B2B Trail segment that will come in from Chelsea. Also in the plans is Phase 3 of the Mill Creek Park Trail that will extend it to Shield Rd. and the high school. And there is more to come.

“One thing that I want to keep bringing to the forefront is the long-term maintenance of these items to sustain the quality that residents expect out of the City’s services,” adds Justin.

One more step remains to install Breyer as City Manager—finalizing his contract. The Council discussed the agreement at its July 12 council meeting, making a number of edits. Council voted to bring the revised contract back at its July 26 meeting. Breyer’s appointment isn't final until the contract is approved. While there is still a chance the Council could change its mind, the contract is expected to be approved.

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