Grand Traverse Co. Administrator Candidate Accepts Offer, County Commission Still Torn

Next month Grand Traverse County will have a new face leading the county.

Her name is Vicki Uppal and right now she’s a county administrator in Mississippi.

Thursday morning she accepted the job in Grand Traverse County.

Back in January the current administrator Tom Menzel announced his resignation for next year.

Since then the county hired a search firm who narrowed the search down to three candidates.

Last month commissioners offered Erik Tungate the job, but he declined.

9&10’s Megan Woods and Jeremy Erickson has our continuing coverage on what will happen next.

“Very relieved and very happy I think she’ll do a great job for us,” says county commission chair Carol Crawford.

Commissioner Dr. Dan Lathrop says, “I was very disappointed in the vote.”

An offer may have been made Wednesday night, but that doesn’t mean everyone was on board.

Some, including the county commission chair Carol Crawford believes she is a good fit.           

“She is already a county administrator, it is a smaller county, their budget is roughly the same size. She also has good experience in the private sector, she comes from the automotive industry in the Detroit area.”

Those are the same reasons Commissioner Dr. Dan Lathrop believes she’s not the right fit, resulting in a split four to three vote.

Lathrop says, “She only had two to three years of experience as a county administrator in a small county of about 30.000 people and her experience prior to that didn’t involve management to any extent.”

An accepted offer from Uppal doesn’t change opinions, but it is a chance for the county to move forward.

Crawford says, “On August 18th we will hopefully ratify her contract and then we’ll look for her to show up September 5th.”

Dr. Lathrop says, “When it comes to vote for her contract I’m going to vote no, although I don’t think it will make a difference. But if she is hired as administrator I will 100% support her and help her try to be successful.”

We reached out to Uppal for her reaction to the offer, but she did not want to comment until after she has signed a contract.

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