MORGANTOWN – A little more than three years after becoming the city manager of Morgantown, Paul Brake is poised to return to his home state of Michigan, as the new city manager for the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak.


Paul Brake

Royal Oak city commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to extend Brake and employment offer.

“We can see the clouds ahead and we going to need someone on board to tighten up the sails and get the crew in order to help us navigate what’s on the horizon here,” Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier commented about Brake during Monday’s meeting.

Brake was among five finalists to interview for the job earlier this month and last week Brake participated in a second round of interviews with city officials.

“I think Mr. Brake, in his second interview, did a great job of highlighting that challenging assumptions being a central piece of his leadership brought value as well,” said Royal Oak Commissioner Kyle DuBoc.

“I think he approaches communications from a higher level, a more strategic level,” said Mayor pro-tem Sharlan Douglas. “He talked about using the city’s goals as a framework for messaging and using the city’s communication staff. I think he sees communication as a process to be managed and I appreciate that more strategic approach.”

Brake was hired in Morgantown in January, 2017 following the departure of former City Manager Jeff Mikorski in August 2016.

The city of Morgantown employed the services of GovHR USA to coordinate a national search for city manager candidates when Brake was hired. The same search firm was contracted by the city of Royal Oak, MI to find a list of qualified candidates.

According to the job posting on the Gov HR USA website, Royal Oak has a population of 59,006 people. The city employees 330 full-time staffers and has an operating budget of approximately $41 million. The job, which was first posted Dec. 11, 2019, comes with a starting salary of between $140,000 and $150,000.

Brake’s interest in a position in Michigan should not come as a surprise. Prior to his tenure in Morgantown, Brake served the city manager in Grand Blanc View, MI, located about an hour from Royal Oak, from July 2011 to August 2015.

He left that position to work for SAFEbuilt, a company that partners with communities on projects to address budget, customer service or development needs.

Brake also has more than a decade of experience as a former assistant township manager in Michigan.