By Judy Reed
New Cedar Springs City Manager Thad Taylor says he is an informal, blue jeans kind of guy, and his door is always open. And he hopes people use it.
“They can come into the office anytime. I don’t mind interruptions,” said Taylor.
Taylor started Monday as the new Cedar Springs City Manager. He met many of the city staff, and received gift baskets from both the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and the Red Flannel Festival. “I’ve never been so warmly welcomed into a community,” he noted.
Taylor was born in W. Lafayette, Indiana, but grew up in Greenville, Michigan, and graduated high school there. He spent a year at Montcalm Community College before getting his BS degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State.
Taylor worked in Greenville for 26 years, including Public safety from 1977-1984. He then served as Police Chief and Public Safety Director in DeWitt Charter Township from 1988-92, and moved to Alpena in 1992 to become Public Safety Director. He became interim manager in 2006, and was made City Manager in 2007. He was let go in the spring when the Alpena City Council decided to “move in a new direction.”
“It was an unfortunate situation, but we parted ways. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. And then this job came along,” said Taylor. He said that with six months severance, he could be selective on where he wanted to apply. “But when this job came along, it was too good to be true. It was everything I could’ve hoped for,” he explained.
His parents, both in their 80s, and his daughter’s family live in Greenville, and Taylor said that was one of the draws of the job in Cedar Springs—being close to family.
“My biggest passion is family. I really treasure family,” he said, when asked about his hobbies and passions.
Taylor and his wife, Theresa, have been married 34 years. They have two children. Their son Ryan, 31, is a police officer in Traverse City. Ryan and his wife, Gwen, have two daughters, Hailey, 15 months, and Olivia, two weeks old. Taylor’s daughter, Jenna, and her husband Trevor, live in Greenville with their three children—Jacob, 12; Connor, 8; and Zach, 4. Talking about his grandchildren brought a smile to his face. Taylor said he loves spending time with them.
As far as hobbies, he said waterfowl hunting for ducks and geese tops the list. But he also likes to fish and play golf. He also added fitness to the list, which is a newer thing that he and his wife do together. “We made a commitment three years ago to get healthier,” he explained. “We quit smoking, and like a lot of people, gained weight. So we had to do something to get it off.”
Taylor said that so far he is impressed with what he has seen of the city and the people in Cedar Springs. He wasn’t that familiar with the town before hearing about the job. When he investigated the City, he saw that it had a good fund balance and signs of stability. “They’ve been good stewards of the community’s money,” he said. “That attracted me.”
He also said that he feels a real sense of community of here. “You only get that in certain places. There are lots of cities, but not that sense of community,” he explained.
Taylor plans to walk up and down Main Street to get to know the businesses and owners. He said he’s always willing to sit down and talk with them, share ideas and explore options to help solve problems they might have. He also hopes to be invited to the various civic clubs so that he can get to know people and they can get to know him.
Taylor said he loves being in a small town. “I’m just a blue jeans and flannel shirt kind of guy. I like being in a relaxed atmosphere. I think it will be a great fit here.”