City manager says appointment to municipal league board will not interfere with local duties



City Manager Kathie Grinzinger said her new appointment to serve on a board of trustees will not interfere with her duties in Mount Pleasant.

Grinzinger joined five other local government officials last month with an appointment to Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees.

The league is an advocacy nonprofit that provides services in public policy and legislative endeavors to cities and villages statewide. Grinzinger teams up with 13 officials who already voluntarily sit on the board, which is responsible for overseeing the league’s operations.

"It's an important time to be on the board of trustees because Michigan is at a crossroads,” said Bill Mathewson, general counsel for the MML.

“There has been a lot of cutting over the last decade and the last couple of years,” he added. “And the question is now, what sort of investments can be made in the local community, so the state can regain some of its prominence moving forward?"

Grinzinger said she is filling in for the remainder of a three-year term, which ends in December, for another local official.

Her first notification of a possible appointment, she said, came in December when nominations were made. Mathewson said she attended her first meeting in January.

“I haven’t received a tremendous amount of feedback from the community,” Grinzinger said. “Prior to the nomination, I did check with the elected City Commission officials.”

She said commissioners were supportive.

Still going through her orientation, Grinzinger said it’s most appropriate she spends a few months getting a handle on the board’s priorities and “where I can be the most help.” However, she said she thinks it will be an opportunity to lobby for the health of local government.

Grinzinger was out of town last week at a conference in Lansing when the league issued a news release on her appointment. According to the release, the other five officials appointed to the board are Kingsley Village Manager Adam Umbrasas, Battle Creek Mayor Susan Baldwin, Rogers City Mayor Pro-Tem Debra Greene, East Lansing Mayor Pro-Tem Nathan Triplett and Jackson City Councilman Daniel Greer.

Potential issues

Though the city manager on Monday didn’t speculate any particular state issues she’ll be coming into, Mathewson said there were three subjects trustees will likely cross paths with.

One, he said, could be articulating components for the league’s 201c3 agenda, a set of eight measures aimed at promoting “place-making” and success in areas such as economic development in 21st century communities.

Mathewson said a second focal point for the board could be transportation funding, particularly where new sources of revenue will come from as existing roads and bridges crumble amid an increasing need for additional infrastructure.

Finally, he said the possibility of personal property taxes being reduced or eliminated could be an issue.

“That’s going to be important because a great deal of them receive (revenue) through the personal property tax,” Mathewson said. “We will be active [in addressing it], and I think the trustees will be active in the effort.”


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