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Kalamazoo Commissioners vote 7-0 to begin negotiations with Jim Ritsema to become City Manager


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- A unanimous Kalamazoo City Commission has selected James Ritsema, the current Assistant City Manager of Battle Creek to become their next City Manager, if they can come to an agreement on a contract.

All seven Commissioners had settled on Ritsema and Middleville Village Manager Rebecca Fleury as their two finalists.

While Fleury was viewed as the more dynamic and passionate of the two, Ritsema was picked for his additional experience and his knowledge of the community, its issues and the challenges that all of Michigan’s larger cities face.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell was initially reluctant to make a decision last night, hoping for more time to get to know the two, but went with the flow when it became obvious that all the others favored Ritsema.

Current Manager Ken Collard retires at the end of the year.