BELDING — For eight years, the city of Belding has been with the same manager in Randy DeBruine, but on Wednesday, after submitting his letter of resignation to members of city council, the search will now begin for a new leader.
DeBruine will step down Dec. 28 — 30 days after submitting his letter, as is written in his contract, to accept a new position as the Kent County Sheriff’s administrative officer.
In a letter written to city council members, DeBruine thanked all current and previous council members, department heads and city employees for making his eight years as city manager an enjoyable experience.
“It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter, as I feel a strong tie to the Belding community, having served the citizens for 16 years, eight as finance director/treasure and eight as city manger,” DeBruine said. “You put all of your time and effort, your heart and soul, into this position. To let go of it, it’s very hard.”
DeBruine said although he is sad to leave a position he has invested much time in, he is excited to start a new chapter of his career with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
“This was a good opportunity that presented itself and I decided to pursue it,” he said.
DeBruine will be overlooking a department that has more than 600 employees and operates with a $60 million budget.
“It’s a big department and I will be assisting the sheriff on the financial and administrative end of things,” he said.
He said he is proud to have held the position of city manager for eight years, citing that the average tenure of a city manager in Belding since 1964 was only 3.9 years.
He said he was also pleased to leave his position knowing that “Belding (is) in a very strong financial condition with healthy fund balances and also with cash on hand to undertake four large infrastructure projects in the next three years.”
Those four projects include reconstruction of the Main Street bridge, road construction on Washginton Street to Hall Street, road construction on Crawford Street and the pathway project on Main Street between the Alvah N. Library and Ashfield Street bridge. All four projects received grants that were approved, with the exception of the pathway project, although DeBruine said he expects that grant to be approved next week.
DeBruine said he is confident the city can continue to move forward, with assistance from those who are already in place to help do so.
“We have a very talented and experienced group of department heads who will be able to keep things moving forward,” he said. “A hearty thanks is also extended to all the volunteers throughout the community for their dedication to serving on various boards and assisting in many different areas. Above all, it has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Belding.”
DeBruine said discussion of his replacement will begin at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.
If the council is unable to find a suitable replacement before DeBruine steps down on Dec. 28, current Finance Director Sam Andres will be appointed to the position.