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Tag Archive | "cedar springs city council"

School board selects new trustee


 

Matt McConnon was appointed on Tuesday, January 23, to fill a vacant seat on the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Courtesy photo.

But question arises on whether he can serve

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening, January 23, to fill the board seat vacated by Patricia Eary last week when she resigned. The board interviewed six candidates, and voted 6-0 to appoint Matt McConnon, of Courtland Township, to fill the seat until January. He was sworn in at the end of the meeting by School Resource Officer Deputy McCutcheon.

Several of the board members felt McConnon’s 10 years of experience in policy making and budgeting on the Courtland Township board would be beneficial to the school board. It remains to be seen, however, whether they will get to use his expertise.

“After we appointed Matt McConnon to the BOE, it came to light that there could be an outside concern with the incompatible office law as Matt is a trustee on the Courtland Township Board,” said Board President Heidi Reed.

“With the first look, the two positions (Township Trustee and BOE) appeared to only have a ‘potential of incompatibility,’ which meant the law did not apply. Matt’s longstanding board service to Courtland Township is to be admired. We have been in contact with Matt and we will amicably resolve this situation after we have gathered the facts,” she said. 

The concern arose because at the end of the meeting, the Post found, after speaking with Mr. McConnon, that he was still serving on the Courtland Township board. He explained that Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn had checked into it, and told him that there should be no conflict of interest since Courtland Township doesn’t do much voting on school issues.

However, the Post remembered that there was a similar case eight years ago, involving our own school board and the Cedar Springs City Council, and that the Kent County Prosecutor had deemed the two offices incompatible.

In that case, Pamela Conley, who was a Board of Education trustee, ran for Cedar Springs City Council in 2009 and won a seat. Both lawyers for the city and the school eventually agreed that the offices would be in conflict, and decided to send it to then Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth for a final opinion. He sent back his decision, explaining why the offices were incompatible. He also told Conley she needed to resign one of the offices by a certain date or he would file charges in Circuit Court. She decided to resign her BOE seat and still serves on the Cedar Springs City Council.

According to the opinion issued by Forsyth in January 2010, in which he cited the Public Offices Act, State Attorney General opinions and Supreme Court opinions, he noted that a person could serve on both boards if they do not negotiate or enter into contracts with one another, which the city and school do. “Of equal significance, an individual cannot avoid the incompatibility by abstaining from voting on resolutions…because abstention under such circumstances ‘is itself a breach of duty.’” He specifically mentioned the city collecting the taxes for the school, and the city conducting school board elections, and the school reimbursing the city for them.

Courtland Township does the same.

The Post emailed Board of Education President Heidi Reed and Superintendent Van Duyn to inform them of the prior case. Reed told the Post they would check into it. She then later issued her statement cited earlier in this article.

The Post will update this story when we know more.

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Little Library project in city


 

A free little library was installed at City Hall this week. It resembles an English phone booth, because there used to be a telephone at this location. Courtesy photo.

City also approves DDA Tif plan, CBDG grant application

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs High School teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class was honored at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday evening for their partnership with the City and Cedar Springs Library in creating three unique “Little Free Libraries” to place around the City of Cedar Springs.

A little free library is usually some type of wooden box where people can take a book or give a book to share. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are unique to the area they are placed in. 

According to Cedar Springs Library Director Donna Clark, the free little libraries were City Manager Mike Womack’s idea. Ringler came up with the ideas on what they should look like. 

One of them is red, and looks like an English phone booth. He said that one would be placed right outside City Hall, because there used to be a phone in that location. That little library was installed this week.

Teacher Steve Ringler’s machining woods class created the free little libraries. Also in the photo is Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley (front) and City Manager Mike Womack (far right).

A second one models a train depot, and will be placed near the staging area of the White Pine Trail (just off Maple and Second Street), but that is near where the old train depot used to be located.

The third little library resembles a barn because there are a lot of farmers in our community, and will be placed near the Cedar Springs Historical Museum.

DDA TIF plan approved

In other action at last week’s City Council meeting, the Downtown Development Authority’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan was approved. Womack said that one of the most important things to understand is that the TIF plan does not raise your taxes. It captures a portion of them and that would normally go into the general fund and reallocates them to the DDA for reinvestment back into the community. 

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

The first project would be to create a parking lot in the grassy area off 2nd and Maple street east of the staging area. Womack said that would cost approximately $60,000.

Grant application for new sidewalks

The City Council also approved a resolution to approve an application for Community Development Block Grant funding to create ADA compliant sidewalks in the downtown area (five feet wide) with curb and gutter. If they get the grant, all sidewalks in the area between First and Second Streets and Muskegon and Maple would be replaced on both sides of the street. Project expenses are estimated at $625,069.60. The city is asking for a grant of $468,802.12, and they would then have to come up with a partial matching grant of $156, 267.38.

Womack said that the city intends to use the general fund balance to cover that amount. “The fund balance is currently about double the required minimum and I feel comfortable drawing down that amount if we are expecting to get back more than 2:1 money,” explained Womack. “The improvement of sidewalks was considered a main priority for the City Council when I got here and this is the best opportunity that we have to potentially get it done. While we have a good chance of getting the grant there is no promise at this point. Neither homeowners nor businesses will be asked to contribute to the cost of this project.”

Water and sewer to new restaurant approved

The Cedar Springs City Council approved extending water and sewer to the location at 17 Mile and White Creek where a new Culver’s restaurant will be built this spring. The restaurant will be built on land located across the street from Big Boy, behind Arby’s and Citgo. The parcel is currently made up of three lots, which will be combined and split into two, with Culver’s taking the north parcel and the other left open for another drive thru restaurant. Gary Coleman, who was there to represent Culver’s, thanked City Manager Mike Womack for making the city more business-friendly. He also said they were hoping to start construction in March, and open in July.

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City Council to hold public hearing on DDA TIF plan tonight


A map of the proposed DDA TIF district.

The Cedar Springs City Council will hold a public hearing and also vote on the 2017 Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan at their December meeting tonight, Thursday, December 14, at 7 p.m.

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

City Manager Mike Womack explained that a TIF plan does not raise your taxes—it simply captures a portion of them and reallocates them to the DDA for reinvestment back into the community. We asked him if he could explain to readers how it works.

“City Hall has been approached by citizens with questions regarding the 2017 Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) development plan which City Hall has been working to finalize by the end of 2017. Tax Increment Financing can be complicated to understand but it is an important tool in promoting economic development in the downtown core of the City. It is important for businesses and citizens to understand how a TIF works and how the DDA can use the TIF to improve the City for everybody.”

He went on to explain:

“The DDA is a board of citizens and business owners with a vested interest in improving the identified TIF district. A TIF district is an area within a city that, broadly speaking, would benefit from reinvestment of money to promote the economic growth of that area. The development plan guides the DDA board in how to invest the TIF money doing things like creating new parking areas, renovating derelict properties or marketing the City to visitors.

“So once a city identifies a part of the City that meets the criteria and would benefit from a TIF, how does it work? A TIF district essentially reallocates funds from property taxes to encourage investment within the district. An important thing for property owners within the TIF district to understand is that their property tax rates do not automatically go up with the creation of a TIF.   

“The way TIFs shift funds around to encourage development is by freezing the allocations to various taxing bodies (e.g. City, County etc.) at their levels as of the start of the TIF. For the life of the TIF (typically a maximum of 20 years), the amount received by these taxing bodies from property taxes collected within the TIF will remain constant. Any increased tax revenues collected as a result of an increase in property values then go into the TIF fund and can be used by the DDA board for a wide range of purposes identified in the TIF Plan.

“Here is an example of a hypothetical TIF to demonstrate how the process works: A city decides that an area is in need of redevelopment, usually a downtown area. The City Council reviews the proposal and determines that the area would benefit from TIF reinvestment. Property tax rates are not affected by the TIF. At the beginning of the TIF, the aggregate property value of all land in the TIF is $1,000,000, and annual property tax revenue is $40,000. This $40,000 is split between a handful of taxing bodies such as the City and the County. After the TIF is created, the taxing bodies know that they will continue to receive that $40,000 per year for the life of the TIF. Perhaps after a couple years, property values within the TIF increase to $1,100,000, which leads to annual tax revenues of $44,000. This extra $4,000, instead of being distributed to the taxing bodies, is deposited in the TIF fund for the DDA to use to reinvest in the TIF area. That investment, in turn, leads to increased private business development, which leads to increased property values and more TIF income and reinvestment by the DDA.  

“Clearly, TIF districts are powerful tools available to a city that can often be complicated and are occasionally misunderstood. When used properly, however, a TIF can revitalize a community.”

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

The city’s proposed 2017 DDA TIF plan can be found online at http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/11-20-17-DDA-TIF-PLAN-packet.pdf. You can email questions to the city manager at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org.

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City swears in winners of election


Lisa Atchison and Gerald Hall were sworn in at last Thursday’s City Council meeting. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

There is a new face on the Cedar Springs City Council after last week’s election.

Lisa Atchison was sworn in Thursday evening, November 9, along with Gerald Hall, who was reelected to his seat on the Council.

Hall and Atchison were the only two running in last week’s election. Atchison ran for the seat being vacated by Dan Clark, who decided not to run again.

Hall received 98 votes, and Atchison, who has also served on the City planning commission, received 79 votes. There were two write in votes, but they were counted as invalid since no one was officially running as a write-in candidate.

The City Council also nominated and voted on who would be their Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem for the 2017-18 year. The vote was unanimous to reappoint Gerald Hall as Mayor, and Pamela Conley as Mayor Pro-tem.

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Fundraiser for CS Fire department


N-Fire-department-fundraiser-Auto-chest-compression

Spaghetti fundraiser March 8 for lifesaving equipment

By Judy Reed

In 2016, there were more than 350,000 instances of sudden cardiac arrest (outside of hospitals), according to the American Heart Association. About 46 percent had CPR performed on them by a bystander, and only 12 percent survived. That might not sound like a high number, but it’s a number that’s climbed over the last several years, thanks to new lifesaving equipment available to paramedics that will automatically do chest compressions. And Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue is trying to raise money to buy the equipment to treat people locally.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the department responded to 11 heart attacks in 2016, and two since the first of the year. One of the two did not survive.

Fraser said that each call averages 8 people per call, averaging 60-70 minutes each, and they must do CPR manually. “60-70 minutes is a long time,” he said, adding that manual CPR calls for 120 compressions a minute. He also noted that daytime staffing can also be difficult, with firefighters working during the day.

With an automatic chest compression system, they could do the call with only three people. And the device would keep the patient’s blood circulating, delivering oxygen to organs while waiting for the ambulance to arrive to transport the patient to the hospital.

Algoma Fire and Kent City Fire both have one of these systems, and Algoma brought it to the Cedar Springs City Council to show them how it would help Cedar Springs. The Council then challenged Chief Fraser to do some fundraising for the $15,000 piece of equipment. “We have some money in next year’s budget, but would like to supplement that,” said Fraser.

He also said that the need for the equipment would only increase, with two senior citizens opening in Cedar Springs in the near future.

Their first fundraising event will be a spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, March 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Cedar Springs Big Boy, 13961 White Creek Ave. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased from any firefighter or medic. You may also purchase at the door. Call 696-1221 to order tickets. Leave a voicemail, the station will return your call.

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City votes to retain City Manager


City Manager Michael Womack is doing a good job for the City of Cedar  Springs.

City Manager Michael Womack is doing a good job for the City of Cedar Springs.

Cedar Springs City Councilors have decided that they like the job that City Manager Michael Womack is doing for them.

On January 12th, 2017, City Councilors reviewed the first six months of Womack’s performance as City Manager, assessing him in multiple categories.

Overall the Cedar Springs City Council rated Womack’s performance as very competent. Councilors stated that they were highly satisfied with Womack’s hiring of new staff and for creating an inviting atmosphere at City Hall. Councilors were also happy that Womack has created a good working relationship with Council, staff and the public. Womack also received praise for conducting the City’s business in a pleasant, positive and professional manner. Councilors did note that Womack could work harder at reaching out to City businesses and would like to see him continue working on the Heart of Cedar Springs project, the new fire barn and new streets and sidewalks in the City.

City Council voted 7-0 to retain Womack as City Manager and voted 7-0 to increase Womack’s salary $2000 per year to $74,000.

Womack started as City Manager on August 1st, 2016, replacing Thad Taylor, who departed the City for Manistee in November, 2015. Womack stated that he was very happy with Council’s vote of confidence in him and that Cedar Springs has been very welcoming.

“I look forward to working for the community for several years to come,” said Womack. “The City is working towards being more business-friendly and I’m looking forward to all the opportunities for growth and improvement in the near future.”

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Library groundbreaking next Saturday, July 9


N-Library-Site-Plan-Heart-Site-Arial-June-2016-zoomed

Years of plans and dreams are finally coming true—Cedar Springs is really going to have a new, much needed library building! The Library Board chose the contractor at their June 27 meeting, and a groundbreaking is scheduled for Saturday, July 9 at 5:00 p.m. near the Cedar Springs Fire Station, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Street. Everyone is invited. See the ad on page 11 and watch the Library website and Facebook Page for activities being planned for this event.

You may have read in The Post or The Bugle that over 900 people of all ages have signed up for the Library’s Summer Reading Program. This growth, along with the significantly increased use of the Library in general, has taken place in spite of not having adequate room. Your Library Staff is persistent regardless of the obstacles.

The current library building has only 2,016 square feet. The new library will have 10,016 square feet, a well-deserved treat to the citizens of Cedar Springs and surrounding communities.

Library Director Donna Clark is excited about what this groundbreaking means for Cedar Springs. “I have the distinct privilege of being the Library Director of our community library at this historic moment of groundbreaking, but I do not stand alone,” she said. “I’m only one, standing on the foundation prepared from the early 1800s to this present day, by a long line of educators, professionals, town folk, volunteers, and enthusiastic people of vision and hope. I celebrate with you who have served your local library as library employees and board members, and with our great City, who is walking this journey with us. I love it that we are building a whole City block of beauty and culture for future generations.”

There are new developments every week because the Library Board and several committees are meeting regularly to accept the bids of contractors and subcontractors, to choose materials, and to keep up with all of the details that require timely attention. “One of the most significant contributions of time during the past two years has come from Duane McIntyre, who will continue to serve as the Project Construction Manager at no charge. This represents a huge savings to the donors and citizens of our communities,” said Community Building Development Team Chair Kurt Mabie. “Many others have also contributed hundreds of hours to reach this milestone so that this dream could come true. Thank you to everyone! These gifts of time are extraordinarily meaningful and are greatly appreciated.”

A finance committee, made up of a good mix of local, respected professionals, is keeping track of the donations that are being made to the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and the Cedar Springs Public Library. Donations for the new building and its contents are still very much needed and greatly appreciated.

This new library building is just one facility planned for the Heart of Cedar Springs, thanks to the CBDT and the Cedar Springs City Council and Planning Commission. They have all brought their influence to bear on raising funds and negotiating with governmental entities, as well as making sure the right people are available to support the many needs of such a large undertaking. Kent County is a wonderful place to live, thanks to a history of good leadership and smart planning. What is happening in Cedar Springs fits perfectly into the scheme of friendly, up-and-coming communities throughout Kent County. The value of these projects to the residents and businesses of Cedar Springs, and to all of northern Kent County, cannot be overestimated.

The Heart of Cedar Springs will include the following projects that are critical to the continued growth of Cedar Springs.

A library, designed and developed as a place to gather, a place where educational opportunities can be extended, a place where a community can meet, grow and learn together.

An amphitheater where outdoor plays, musicals, movies, concerts and more will fill the summer days and evenings for residents, as well as a place of respite for White Pine Trail and North Country Trail enthusiasts.

Rain Gardens and a Sculpture are a part of the continual beautification of Cedar Creek and its historic flowing spring, which will provide multiple opportunities for several school districts to collaborate with science experiments, and participate in research that can benefit Michigan water way protection and development. The new library will be a great source and meeting place for these classes.

A Boardwalk and Bridges along the Creek, initially running from Main Street to the White Pine Trail but eventually spanning through to Riggle Park and 17 Mile Road to be enjoyed by walkers, nature enthusiasts, and fishermen.

A Community Center that can be used as a FEMA crisis center, as well as provide a beautiful venue for wedding and retirement receptions, and many other community and personal celebrations and gatherings.

A Recreation and Fitness Center where the Parks and Recreation Department, various other recreational and fitness organizations, schools, and individual residents can focus on health and wellness as a community.

All of north Kent County will benefit and appreciate these facilities and open spaces. The value they bring to the Cedar Springs Community will be a legacy for years to come. Please get involved now to be part of this legacy.

Tax deductible donations can be made out to the Community Building Development Team and sent to treasurer, Sue Mabie, 15022 Ritchie Ave, Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319.

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GWENDOLYN CLAIRE PERRY


 

26C-obit-PerryGwendolyn Claire Perry, 88, of Cedar Springs, passed away Tuesday, June 28, 2016 and went to be with her Lord and Savior. Mrs. Perry was born November 5, 1927 in Hamilton, Canada the eldest daughter of Rev. Alfred Clare and Edna (Jefferson) Motyer. She was preceded in death by a brother and his wife, Derwin (Imogene) Motyer; son, Lee Perry; granddaughter, Emily Perry; brother-in-law, Douglas Ehman. Surviving are her husband, Lyle Perry Jr. whom she married in 1949; children, Lyle III (Ellen) Perry, Lizabeth (Dennis) Boe, Lenn Perry, and Lonn (Ruth) Perry; grandchildren, Jessamine (Dustin) Spulak, Max and Chace Perry, Johannes (Elizabeth) Boe, Nicholas (Desi) Boe and Suzy (Jared) Goulart, Aaron (Rachael) Perry, Joseph Perry, and Nathaniel Perry; great-grandchildren, Kalysta and Jaiden Vorase, Ailie Biddle, Braxton Perry, Ole and Thorren Boe, Dodger Boe, Lilija and Annika Goulart; sister, Shirley Ehman; several cousins, nieces nephews and friends. Mrs. Perry graduated from Howard City H.S. and from Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a Registered Nurse she practiced her profession at the State Hospital in Kalamazoo and in hospitals in Plainwell, Lakeview, Greenville, and Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was a member of the Howard City Methodist Church, later attended St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Trufant, Michigan and then became a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. She was formerly a Brownie Scout Leader, President of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club, and a President of the Cedar Springs H.S. Band Boosters. She regularly attended the alumni reunions of the Howard City H.S. and of Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. She enjoyed attending meetings of the Cedar Springs City Council, and often contributed comments and opinions during council meetings. She enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She took occasional trips to Canada to visit a favorite uncle, Selby Douglas Jefferson and to greet relatives and friends there. Being born in Canada, she had warm feelings toward anything English or British. She became a citizen of the USA in September 1941. The family will greet friends Friday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Saturday 10:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Reynolds Township Cemetery, Howard City. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

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City to hold City Manager interviews


 

The Cedar Springs City Council met on Monday, June 6, in closed session to choose four more people to interview for the City Manager position. The names were released on Thursday, June 9, after the nominees agreed to be interviewed. However, two of those selected pulled out on Tuesday, June 14.

The interviews will be held at Cedar Springs City Hall on Friday, June 17. There is a possibility that two more candidates will be added to take the place of the ones who pulled out. The ones currently interviewing will be:

12:30 p.m. Michael Womack, Executive Intern, Village of Lake Orion, MI; Graduate Assistant, City of Eastpointe, MI; Attorney, Womack & Womack P.C.

2:00 p.m. Nancy Stoddard, Tax Collector, City of Wyoming, MI

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City Council fires assessor, hires interim City Manager, City clerk resigns


By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council fired their assessor, hired an interim City Manager, and received the resignation of their City Clerk, all during the course of a special meeting on Thursday evening, May 26.

The Council has been in disagreement with City Assessor Jason Rosenzweig, over six parcels of city-owned property that he says the city should be paying tax on. The Board of Review upheld Rosenzweig’s assessment, and the Council will be appealing it to the state. Michigan property tax appeals can be filed after the March Board of Review and on or before June 30 of the tax year involved.

In Thursday night’s meeting, Rosenzweig spoke to the Council. He told them that the Council has no authority to terminate him because under the City’s charter all employees are placed under the City Manager. He quoted sections from the Charter that say the Council cannot request the employment or dismissal of an employee.

“The Mayor broke the law when he visited me yesterday and asked me to resign,” said Rosenzweig.

He added that he is not a contract employee because he has never received a 1099, and holds office hours. He also noted that under his employment agreement, it states that 30 days notice should be given by either party. He said that he could sue the City for missed wages, and the Council for misconduct in office.

“I am following the law,” he told them. “The state tax commission told me to look closer at the properties. Your own attorney gave me an opinion that I am doing my job,” he said.

Rosenzweig then offered to resign, if the Council agreed to pay his salary for the rest of the year, which he said amounted to about $11,000.

City Council members listened, then went forward with the resolution to fire Rosenzweig.  Mayor Jerry Hall said that their City attorney drafted the resolution and felt they had the authority to dismiss him.

The resolution states that the Council believes the actions of Rosenzweig, in placing certain city-owned properties on the tax roll, were not properly analyzed or communicated to Council, and that according to the city’s charter, the assessor serves at the pleasure of the Council. It also said that under due consideration, the City Council had lost confidence and became dissatisfied in his performance as City assessor, and his termination was effective immediately. It directed the City manager to take action to effectuate the resolution.

The Council decided to leave the hiring of a new assessor up to the new City Manager when hired.

The hiring of an interim City Manager was next on the agenda. They introduced Barbara VanDuren, of Wyoming, who had recently retired from the City of Wyoming as Deputy City Manager, and was previously City Manager in Wayland. “I truly believe in local government, and when the Michigan Municipal League asked if I’d like a shot at being the interim City Manager in Cedar Springs, I said yes,” she told the Council. (See article introducing her on page 3).

Longtime City Clerk Linda Christiansen has been acting City Manager since November. She was visibly upset at the development. “This week is the first time I heard about this,” she told the Council. “I feel very disrespected. I feel like 22 years of my life has gone down the toilet. I will be retiring July 1,” she added, and gave them her letter of resignation.

Christansen had previously said she would stay on until a new City Manager was found.

Members of the Council tried to assure her that they were trying to alleviate the pressure of doing two jobs.

“We were dumbstruck,” said Mayor Jerry Hall. He explained that they had said at last month’s meeting that they wanted to get Christiansen some help. “With the work piling up, and elections coming, we thought maybe it was time to take some pressure off so that she has time to train someone before she leaves,” he explained. “It was not our intent to have her resign. It was to help her, not replace her. If the other manager had taken the job, this wouldn’t be happening. We just thought we needed to get someone in to help her.”

The Council voted 6-1 to hire VanDuren, with Councilmember Perry Hopkins being the lone no vote. He said he had too much respect for Christiansen, and later said that if she couldn’t handle both jobs with the election coming, that should be up to her.

In her resignation letter, Christensen said it had been a privilege to serve as City Clerk. She has worked for five City Managers; along side five treasurers/finance officers; three DPW directors, several fire chiefs; and countless employees, police officers, mayors and city council members. “With all we have shared good times and not so good times; but no  matter what we were going through at the time, we all pulled together working as a team to make Cedar Springs the best it could be under whatever circumstances we were facing,” she wrote.

The Council set another special meeting date of June 6 to review candidates who have applied for the City Manager job. They will review the candidates in closed session and choose the top ones they wish to interview in a public meeting.

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