BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- In a 5 to 4 vote, city commissioners in Battle Creek elected Rebecca Fleury as the new city manager Tuesday.
She took the lead over current interim city manager, Susan Bedsole, who has held down the position for the past seven months since Ken Tsuchiyama retired in February.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Dave Walters expressed his support for Bedsole to remain on the job. "She continues--notice the magic word: continues, hasn't just done this since she's been in interim-- to attend NPC (neighborhood planning council) meetings and numerous city events," Mayor Walters said. "As a matter of fact, last night I left a missile defense hearing, and that's where she is now, under the city rather than sitting here, which is something new and is responsible for positive feedback that I receive on a regular basis."
However, some other commissioners disagreed with keeping her on board, adding they'd like to bring someone in who has a fresh perspective.
Fleury, who served as the Middleville village manager and finance director, also has the support from the members of the community.
"I have the utmost respect for the city commissioners tonight," Lorrainne Hunter said. "They chose the best person, and it wasn’t about the good ol’ buddy system. They chose the person they felt could get the job done."
Defeated in his efforts to keep Bedsole as city manager, Mayor Walters said Fleury is also an exceptional candidate for the job. "You've got someone with this energy, not that Susan Bedsole didn't have it. But she does have that fresh look from the outside looking in,. I think as far as city issues are going to be blight, code compliance, some things like that, that appear to be kind of bubbling up at this time that we need to work on with the city manager."
Mayor Walters said it's not clear when Fleury will begin as city manager. He said they have to complete the hiring process. In the meantime, Bedsole will continue to serve as interim city manager.