By Judy Reed
Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns may be headed for the top job in Spring Lake.
The Village announced Monday that Burns was their top choice for the Village Manager position, with James Freed, who manages both the Village of Lakeview and the City of Stanton under a shared services agreement, as an alternate.
According to Bill Baldridge, the consultant to the Michigan Municipal League who ran the search, Spring Lake held interviews with their top four choices on Saturday, June 2. Afterward, the council discussed the candidates and narrowed their choices to their top two.
“It was very close between the two candidates, and what strengths they would bring the village,” explained Baldridge. “But Chris seemed to be the leader.”
The Post asked Burns how she felt when she got the call letting her know she was chosen for the job. “I was pretty excited,” she said. “Spring Lake is such an awesome community.”
But the thought of leaving her coworkers saddens her. “My staff rocks. I’ve never worked with a better group of people. They are hard workers, and they are friends. The hard part is leaving them. But I am excited for other opportunities.”
While negotiations have already started, nothing will be set until after June 11. That’s when a judge will rule on whether a petition to disincorporate the Village of Spring Lake is valid. The Village maintains it’s not valid, because they are a home rule village. According to information from the Michigan Municipal League, home rule villages have nothing in their charter that allows them to disincorporate. They would have to insert a provision in their charter permitting them to do so before they could disincorporate.
If the judge rules in the village’s favor, Burns can accept the position if she chooses to. If the judge rules that the petition is valid, it will appear on the August 7 ballot, and everything would be on hold until after the voters make a decision.
Meanwhile, Burns is meeting with department heads to work on a transition plan, and is not taking on any new projects. If things go forward, she will ask for an August 1 start date. She will also meet with the Mayor Charlie Watson and the city attorney, so they can begin to work on a replacement.