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Mayor Bliss: City Manager search too important to rush

Earlier this month, Grand Rapids City Commissioners voted to restart the search for a new City Manager, the most powerful non-elected official in the city. Now, Mayor Bliss says the new search may take months to complete.

After a nationwide search produced 61 candidates and 3 finalists applying to be Grand Rapids next City Manager, the City Commission decided to pass on them all, and restart the search. The move came as a surprise for many after the 3 finalists had endured a week of job interviews and a series of grueling questions at a public forum. However, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss defended the Commission’s decision on grtv.

“This is a very critical position in our city,” Bliss said. “This is the individual that oversees over 1500 employees. So, in the end, we need to feel that we have the absolute best candidate to move us forward.”

While the initial search lasted a month and cost the city $25,000, a new search could be even more expensive and take up to four to five months. Bliss says that’s not a long period considering how long the new City Manager will be on the job.  

“This individual that we select very likely will be in this position long after I’m gone and my colleagues are gone. We’re not going to be here in 9 years because of term limits,” Bliss said. “In the past, we’ve had a city manager that served nine years, and then before that, 22 years. We need to make sure the city manager is the best city manager for today and ten years in the future.”

The City Commission will meet for the first time Tuesday evening since voting to reset the city manager search on February 6th

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