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GR Commission "Reset" new city manager search

Mariano Avila

The Grand Rapids City Commission voted to restart the search process for a new city manager, the most powerful, non-elected position in city government. 

[Jon O’Connor]: I would move that we reinitiate the search process for the city manager and that we re-post the job within 30 days from today to further diversify and expand the pool of candidates.

Second-Ward Commissioner Joe Jones seconded the motion, and after commissioners echoed community concerns about the process being rushed and hints about disagreement within the commission, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss called a vote.

[Mayor Bliss]: “Alright, all those in favor say aye.”

[Commissioners say aye]

[MB] “Those opposed:”

[No votes spoken]

[MB] “It carries”

So, what was that process? 

“We went through a process to identifying a search firm to work with, to create a candidate profile for our city manager. We actually had significant feedback in that process with well over 1,000 people weighing in, over 300 city employees weighing in,” said Mayor Bliss.

And what did that process yield? Here’s Second-Ward Commissioner David Allen.

“They contacted over 150 cities with populations over 100,000. Sent over 250 direct emails to city officials in those cities. They sent out 6,000 direct emails to city officials working in cities of over 25,000. And we got 61 resumes.”

Those 61 resumes were whittled down to five and held community interviews with the final three. Now, commissioners made it clear that while they will reboot, they intend to start the new round within 30 days.

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.