City gives new administrator three-year contract

City gives new administrator three-year contract

Mark Washington Courtesy City of Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids has approved its contract with the new city manager.

The Grand Rapids City Commission approved a three-year contract with newly hired City Manager Mark Washington on Aug. 14 during its committee of the whole meeting and formalized the vote during its regular meeting the same day.

Washington’s contract includes a start date of Oct. 1, an annual salary of $250,000 and a $40,000 stipend for relocation from Austin, Texas.

This is the first time in 30 years the city has provided relocation expenses as the position had previously been filled by local candidates.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss noted the city of Ann Arbor’s contract with its new city administrator, who also came from Austin, included a stipend for relocation costs, and said Grand Rapids must provide a competitive salary and benefits package to attract national talent.

The multi-year contract also is a change from the normal annual contract process for the city manager position. City commissioners cited the many opportunities and challenges faced by the community as reason for the change.

“This gives Mark the time he needs to work with city staff and our partners to dig into complex issues such as racial disparities, housing affordability and community and police relations, and help us move forward together as a city,” Bliss said.

In discussing Washington’s annual salary, the City Commission pointed to his “extensive” experience in local government, including the past three years as assistant city manager in Austin. There, he oversaw eight departments, including human resources, communications and innovation. In total, Washington has worked for more than 22 years in local government.

“I have been impressed with the West Michigan/Grand Rapidian civic pride that rightly acknowledges the things that are being done well in our community but also candidly and honestly appraises the areas needing improvement,” Washington said.

Washington was appointed city manager by the City Commission on July 31, besting four other candidates.

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