Exactly 50 years after the first city manager was appointed in Tecumseh, the Michigan community's fifth city manager has taken over.
Kevin Welch began his work as city manager of the city of 8,500 residents Monday, the same day the city celebrated its charter's 50th birthday.
The change brings to a close what has been an admittedly tumultuous time at City Hall. Former City Manager Frank Crosby left in August after coming under fire from both council and employees for his abrupt behavior and what was termed an overly aggressive management style.
Mayor Harvey Schmidt said yesterday that Mr. Welch brought with him an optimistic future for the city. Tecumseh is 40 miles northwest of Toledo.
“It seems like kismet that our fifth city manager started on the day our charter went into effect 50 years ago,” he said. “We're starting new, and all we can do is look to the future from now on, and I think our future is looking very bright. We've got a new leader, and there is a lot to look forward to.”
Tecumseh transformed from a village into a city on Dec. 14, 1953, when residents voted to approve a proposed city charter. Several weeks later, on Jan. 5, 1954, officials held their first organizational meeting, where they appointed the first city manager, city attorney, and city assessor.
Officials also authorized the city charter.
City Clerk Laura Caterina researched the city's history to help celebrate the charter turning 50 years old. She said the original document has been updated and amended only about four times.
On the day the charter was signed, city officials appointed Ed Nelson as city manager. Monday, the city held an open house before its council meeting, where residents could view the original charter and meet their new city manager.
“I think Tecumseh is a great place to live. It's a very desirable place to live,” Ms. Caterina said. “The fact that we've only had five city managers in the past 50 years speaks well for the stability of this community.”
Mr. Welch formerly worked in a variety of capacities for the city of Allen Park, just south of Detroit. He said his first few days on the job were full of “getting to know things.”
A father of three, Mr. Welch said he's moving his family to the northern Lenawee County city, and his reception has been “very welcoming” so far.
“This is a very exciting city with a lot going on,” said Mr. Welch, 47. “I'm looking forward to everything that's coming, and I'm glad to be a part of it.”