Grand Rapids Commissioner Kurt Repart on resetting the City Manager search

Feb 13, 2018

Last week, Grand Rapids City Commissioners voted to restart the search for a new City Manager, the most powerful non-elected official in the city. To better understand their decision, WGVU is interviewing commissioners individually. We started with 1st Ward Commissioner Kurt Reppart. 

[KR] I'll just say it, I came prepared to cast my vote today for Carol Mitten. And I'll share what is important to me in this process. I'm looking for a candidate who has the ability to think deeply, seek iformatio from new sources, and integrate that with the staff, commission and community. 

[MA] That's First-ward Commissioner, Kurt Reppart, speaking last week at that decisive meeting. I caught up to him at his office in The Other Way Ministries and talked to him about his decision.  

[MA] You have a particular candidate in mind. What was it about her, I guess, response that captured you.  

[KR] She's coming from D. C. which is a city that we aspire to be like. Her breadth of experience included: real estate, zoning, economic development, transit, parks and Homeland Security. So a little bit of everything. And I thought she was incredibly thoughtful. She would pause, she answered the equity questions well. I also thought that she was going to do well with economic development, which matters a lot. 

[MA] Part of the reasoning for rebooting was to get more community feedback. So, how would you like to get that feedback and from whome. 

[KR] The Latino Community Coalition had some questions that they wanted to ask, Specific issues related to the Latio commuitity. And their answers in writing. Can we agree to a set of questions that we want the candidates to answer in wring so that everybody can see those questions regardless of if they can shwo up to the forums. 

[MA] Is there anything else about this whole proces that you would like to talk about? 

[KR] Obviously, anxiety is up. I mean, this is a powerful position that is not elected. And so, if we are going to b e a commuity that values community engagement, now is the time to err on that side.