Reception celebrates retiring GR city manager

Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom, retirement party
Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom (right, hands clasped) celebrates his retirement. (Jan. 29, 2018)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom’s decades of service were celebrated Monday during his retirement party.

When asked during the reception at DeVos Place downtown how he was feeling, Sundstrom replied, “Fantastic and proud.”

Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom, retirement party

Sundstrom first started working for the city of Grand Rapids in 1981 as a seasonal employee. He served as deputy city manager before taking over as manager in 2009 during the height of the recession. When he announced his retirement in August, city commissioners praised his efforts to get the city through the recession and how he implemented permanent programs to make the city more sustainable.

He said some memories from his time with the city that stand out are the opening of the new police headquarters and dealing with the flood of 2013.

“Grand Rapids is on the map. We’ve become one of the great cities of our country. This community has really pulled together and risen up,” Sundstrom said. “I think the future is so bright for this community. There are still cranes in the air and people are still fighting to come to Grand Rapids.”

The Grand Rapids City Commission, which launched a nationwide search for Sundstrom’s replacement after he announced his retirement, has narrowed the field to three finalists.

Those finalists are Pontiac Deputy Mayor Jane Bais-Disessa; Port Huron City Manager James Freed; and Carol Mitten, who currently serves as the deputy county manager in Arlington, Virginia. Freed previously served as city manager of Stanton and village manager in Lakeview.

>>Resumes (PDF): Bais-Disessa | Freed | Mitten

The candidates will go through their second and final interviews Feb. 6.