UPDATE 9/20/23 3:45 p.m.
Benjamin Marentette, who was named the finalist for Traverse City city manager on Sept. 11, has withdrawn his interest in serving in the role. The City says he has decided to remain as city clerk as of Wednesday, Sept. 20.
“I am very grateful for the vote of confidence from the City Commission in offering me the position of City Manager. Since the time of the City Commission making their decision on September 11, I have, after much contemplation, realized that my heart is in the democracy-centric role of serving as City Clerk, and that I wish to remain in that role. This is the basis for my decision, and there are no other reasons. Therefore, I am respectfully declining the offer to serve as City Manager. I recognize this will cause a delay in the City Commission choosing the next City Manager, which I regret, and I will do all I can to support the professional that the City Commission selects. I want to thank the City Commission, this community and staff and others for their support. And I want to especially thank the city leadership team for their understanding of my decision and I want to thank my fantastic husband, Matt, for all of his support,” said Marentette in a statement.
The City says Interim City Manager Nate Geinzer is on contract to serve through October, and can continue on a month-to-month basis if needed.
“I am very proud of Benjamin for his honest consideration and following his heart instead of taking on the position of City Manager. This wasn’t an easy decision on his part and one I truly understand. He has been and will continue to be an important asset to Traverse City and the community.
“It is admirable to see a commitment to democracy and public service being prioritized over personal advancement. The decision made by Mr. Marentette to decline the offer for City Manager shows a true dedication and understanding of the community he serves. The role of City Manager is undoubtedly a challenging one, and the future looks set to bring even more difficulties to the table. His knowledge and skills extend beyond just the local level, with his contributions being recognized on a statewide and national level. Our city is fortunate to have Marentette as a dedicated public servant, and we can continue to count on him to provide valuable contributions to our community,” stated Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe.
The City Commission will meet again on Sept. 25 to consider next steps.
9/12/23 6:35 p.m.
Traverse City has officially filled the position of their next city manager.
“We’ve got a lot of great things within the organization and community. This is also a chance to help shape that culture,” said new city manager, Benjamin Marentette. “And to work in partnership, true partnership with our city commission our excellent city staff, the residence, and all the stakeholders, and that’s what’s got me really jazzed about this is true partnership and approaching leadership in that fashion,” he adds.
The city commissioners made a unanimous voted to offer the city manager job to Marentette, who was serving as the city clerk.
“Well, I am deeply grateful for the unanimous support of the city commission in choosing me as their next city manager. The support of the city staff, the feedback that the city commission got through the staff interviews was very supportive of me serving in this role. And as I understand from the public open house, there were very supportive comments with respect to me serving in this role,” said Marentette.
And with the support of the community, Marentette wants to help support them.
“That strategic plan will be informed by so many people, members of the community, all of the stakeholders, everyone that counts on Traverse City government. And so, I’m looking forward to that process. And that the process will then, like I said, help us decide where to spend our resources. And so that’s something that I’m really looking forward to and we need to have all voices at the table,” he said.
And he wants to be sure that every voice is heard.
“The point is that the vision needs to represent where this community wants to go and there won’t be complete agreement, but hopefully there will be alignment that we all participate it and that everyone’s voice is factored in,” he said.
The city is facing big discussion, such as zoning, which he plans to look at closely.
“That’s another area where I have a lot to learn. We have a professional planning department staff, a planning commission and city commission that studies those issues very closely,” said Marentette.
And with all the plans that he has in store, he says he can’t do it alone.
“And that’s a conversation that we’re going to continue to have as a community,”.
Marentette says that he plans on getting approval from the city commission to bring Sarah Lutz as the interim city clerk.