Battle Creek city manager to retire

Ken Tsuchiyama

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) – The city manager of Battle Creek is retiring, following in the footsteps of two other top city officials who vacated their positions in the last 10 months.

City Manager Ken Tsuchiyama announced Wednesday he would retire on Feb. 21 after almost 29 years of service with the city.

Tsuchiyama began his career with the city as a traffic engineer, and then transitioned to director of public works before becoming the assistant city manager, and ultimately, city manager.

“I have had a wonderful career with the city,” Tsuchiyama said. “I have said for many years that I would put our city staff up against any municipal staff in the state and I feel as strongly about that as ever.”

In a release, Tsuchiyama said he and Mayor Dave Walters agreed they didn’t see eye to eye on where the city was headed, and that it would be “in the best interest of the city organization that he step down.”

Former Battle Creek Police Chief Jackie Hampton
Former Battle Creek Police Chief Jackie Hampton

During the Battle Creek City Commission’s Feb. 18 meeting, commissioners will vote to authorize a separation agreement between Tsuchiyama and the city, as well as to appoint Community Services Director Susan Bedsole as the interim city manager.

Tsuchiyama’s retirement comes on the heels of the recent retirements of two of Battle Creek’s top officials — the police chief and fire chief.

In January, former Police Chief Jackie Hampton announced he would retire at the end of the month. He became the chief of police in 2010 after he was promoted from the deputy chief position to replace Chief David Headings, who retired.

Battle Creek Fire Chief David Schmaltz
Battle Creek Fire Chief David Schmaltz

Larry Hausman, the former fire chief, retired in April after leading his department for 15 years. The new fire chief, David Schmaltz, took over the position on Feb. 3

The city is now looking to permanently fill Tsuchiyama’s position, as well as the police chief and assistant city manager positions.

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