Grand Rapids city manager appointed to statewide board

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Mark Washington Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington was appointed to the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees, League Board President William Wild announced.

Washington will join a diverse group of community leaders representing communities of all shapes and sizes, said Wild, who also serves as mayor of Westland. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the 19-member board with his term expiring in fall 2022.

With Washington’s appointment, the league board will now have 10 elected officials serving alongside nine municipal managers.

“We are extremely pleased to have Mark join us as we work to help our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and reform our state’s broken system for funding its municipalities,” Wild said. “With Mark’s appointment, our board will continue to have representatives from some of our state’s largest cities working side-by-side with officials from some of our smallest communities. This diversity of thought and representation is a key tenant of our organization.”

Washington said he was honored to serve on the league board and follow in the footsteps of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, who served on the board for several years, including in 2016-17 as board president.

“I’ve long embraced the importance of looking outside your organization as a means of inspiration for creative problem-solving in service of our residents,” Washington said. “I’m excited to serve on the league board and contribute to our shared goal of building inclusive, community wealth in every corner of our state.”

Since arriving in Grand Rapids as its city manager in October 2018, Washington has led efforts to create a four-year strategic plan, reduce the overall cost of government services, create a performance management program, oversee the development of a police department strategic plan, launch an equitable economic development and mobility strategy, create a public safety oversight and accountability office, establish both an equity office and innovation office, launch a homeless outreach team and reaffirm the city’s commitment to sustainability.

Washington has worked in local government for 26 years, including as assistant city manager for Austin, Texas, where he supported the city manager in operating a workforce of 14,000 employees and a $4.1 billion budget, and directly oversaw the convention center and tourism, labor relations, human resources, telecommunications and regulatory affairs, information technology, innovation, facilities management and fleet management.

Prior to that, he served as director of human resources and civil service for the city of Austin, where he led efforts that resulted in the municipality being recognized among the top 10 employers by Forbes Magazine, thanks to efforts in strategic planning, talent management, employee engagement, labor management, risk management, equity, benefits and leadership development.

He also previously served as assistant director of human resources for the city of Fort Worth, Texas.

Washington has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Tarleton State University, a Master of Business Administration from Amberton University and a Master of Arts and doctorate in education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees is a critical part of the league’s organizational structure and success by establishing a clear, strategic direction for the 122-year-old institution.

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