Search Begins to Replace Longtime City Manager Michael Young
Rockford, Michigan, February 8, 2016 – The Rockford City Council has appointed Chief of Public Safety David Jones as interim city manager while the search for a new top administrator takes place.
The Council voted 5-0 to place Jones, who has led Rockford police and fire services for a dozen years, into the top leadership role. He will be supported by Chris Bedford, Rockford city clerk, who was named interim deputy manager during the same vote.
Officials plan a search to fill the spot left vacant due to the death of longtime City Manager Michael Young. Young, 48, died Jan. 27 after suffering a stroke.
Rockford’s City Council honored Young during Monday’s meeting by showing a video tribute. Young was highly regarded as a visionary leader who led efforts to transform Rockford’s downtown and played a key role in the North Kent Sewer Authority’s move from the Grand Rapids wastewater system.
His wife, Melissa Young, attended the meeting and shared words of thanks for the outpouring of support received during the past several weeks. She indicated that she plans to attend monthly Council meetings as a reminder of his service to Rockford.
Rockford leaders are focused on moving ahead as smoothly as possible, and say the appointment of Jones and Bedford helps them fulfill that goal.
“David brings a wealth of experience to this role, and has served as the unofficial city manager at various times,” said Rockford Mayor Gerald Coon. “More than that, David is committed to the memory of Michael and continuing work with the strong team that Michael put into place.
“David and Chris have the Council’s full backing as the right people for the interim position, and I have no doubt the City of Rockford will go forward strongly even as we continue to mourn. That is what Michael would have wanted.”
Leaders will work with the Michigan Municipal League, in addition to other sources, in the search for Young’s successor. In the meantime, Jones will oversee a 37-employee city team that boasts an experienced senior staff that is well positioned to carry out several large projects that are on the table.
Jones joined Rockford in 2003, overseeing all city police and fire services, which includes 25 employees and 15 police services volunteers. He administers a $1.5 million budget, which is about 40 percent of the city’s entire operating budget.
Part of his role as chief also includes serving as the city’s parking administrator, zoning code enforcement administrator and traffic engineer.
His 42 years of law enforcement experience at both the city and county level also has allowed him to build relationships with a number of city and county administrators.
“I am very familiar with and comfortable with all aspects of municipal government,” Jones said. “Michael and I worked as a team to run this city. With the leadership of Chris and support from our whole team, I am confident the city will continue moving forward during our search for a new city manager.
“We are fortunate to have very experienced senior staff members who are both service-oriented and forward-thinking. They are ready to help us carry out several projects that are set to begin.”
For more information, call the City of Rockford at 616.866.1537 or visit the City’s website at www.rockford.mi.us. Learn more about the city on Facebook at www.facebook.com/City-of-Rockford-City_Hall-102830113087792/ and follow us on Twitter at @RockfordMich and @Rockford_DPS.
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