The Grand Rapids City Commission has once again begun the process of finding former City Manager Greg Sundstrom’s replacement. Last February, after a week of interviews and a public forum, the commission ultimately passed on three finalists for the job, opting instead to start the search completely over.
Facing criticism for the decision at the time, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss defended the move, stressing the city manager position was too important and too big of a position not to get right. Mayor Bliss reiterated that point Wednesday as the city commission will interview a new batch of candidates later this month.
“I still stand by the belief that this position is too important to our city," Bliss said. "Hitting on that point, since our last process, I’ve had countless conversations with people about the importance of this position. I found out that a lot of people don’t realize the real scope of responsibility and authority that our city manager has based on our form of government.”
The City Commission outlined its plans for the second search which includes a subcommittee narrowing down the pool of candidates by July 24th, a public forum for the community to meet the finalists, and a final interviews set for July 31st.
“Well, I am very hopeful that we will have stellar, awesome candidates to choose from," Bliss said. "So hopefully we are not going to be in the same position as we were last time.”
Meanwhile, the city commission also announced this week that three finalists have been selected in the search to find City Commissioner David Allen’s replacement. Allen announced his decision to step down in June, citing a need to focus all of his focus on running InnovaLab, where he serves as Executive Director.