After serving 8 years as Grand Rapids City Manager, Friday marks Greg Sundstrom's last day of public service. Last August, Sundstrom penned an official letter to Mayor Rosalynn Bliss saying he would not seek a new contract after his current one expired on December 31st. Sundstrom’s 8 years of service makes him the City’s third-longest serving City Manager.
He says seeing Grand Rapids through the recession is what he is most proud of during his tenure.
“And we did it in a really innovate way. You know we were on the verge of bankruptcy at one point, and you know I am really proud that we went from weak to a leader in strength, and now we are not focused on internally how to become healthy, we are focused on the community and how to make this a better place to live.”
Sundstrom says while his time as City Manager is coming to an end, the city still has challenges it must face to fully reach its full potential, and all of those challenges are tied directly to equity.
“Because equity, the despaired outcomes in our system is seen our education, our health, housing, jobs, and for me there is nothing more important for city government to do than to look internally, and make sure that we are not treating people un-equitably.”
While Sundstrom has been the City Manager for 8 years, his retirement comes after 35 years of public service. He said the decision to retire partly came after open heart surgery made him better appreciate how precious life is.
Meanwhile, the City of Grand Rapids has three finalists to take Sundstrom's place. Pontiac Deputy Mayor Jane Bais-Disessa, Port Huron City Manager James Freed and Arlington, Va., Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten will be introduced at a public forum on Monday.