BELDING — Like a veteran baseball player who has logged in thousands of at-bats at the plate nearing the end of their career, Sam Andres says “the time is right,” for him to retire.
The city of Belding’s finance director/treasurer exited his office for the final time Thursday after seven-and-a-half years at the helm of the city’s finances.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s been very interesting,” he said. “I will especially miss the people here. Everyone has always been very helpful and good to me.”
Originally hired on Nov. 6, 2006, Andres has managed the city’s finances after a long career of accounting work for Electrolux Inc.
Before coming to Belding, the Eureka Township resident worked in the finance department for Electrolux in Greenville and Belding for more than 39 years.
Andres worked on the assembly line in Belding for several years before being transferred to an office position in the accounting department, being promoted to junior accountant, senior accountant, general accounting manager and then system controller, until the plant closed in 1988.
Andres was then transferred to a plant in Anderson, S.C., where he stayed for four years until he was eventually transferred back to the Electrolux plant in Greenville.
Andres worked at the Greenville plant until its eventual closing in 2006.
“I was one of the last ones to leave Electrolux in Greenville before they officially closed the plant,” he said.
Andres said he is retiring primarily to spend more time with his wife Mary, who suffers from narcolepsy cataplexy, so he can be home with her and have more time to care for her.
“I would love to still be working, but my wife needs me,” he said. “She’s home alone and I’m here 40 to 50 hours a week. My health isn’t great either, I should be getting more rest, so it’s just time.”
But Andres said he is looking forward to his retirement, hoping that that he and Mary can travel a few more times across the country during summer vacations.
Andres said he is also hoping to be able to spend some of his upcoming free time playing golf at Candlestone.
“I won’t be able to use the excuses anymore that’s it’s too hot to golf or that it’s going to rain,” he said with a laugh.
Belding City Manager Meg Mullendore said she was very thankful of Andres, who also served as the interim city manager for three months before she was hired in April of 2013.
“I just want to thank Sam for all of his help, he’s been a great asset,” she said. “He’s been great to work with and we’re going to miss him a lot.”
Mayor Ron Gunderson said there are few people if any in Belding who deserve more praise for there work than Andres.
“I’ve been working with Sam for quite a few years,” he said. “I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve been through some budgets with Sam, his period as the interim city manager, and I don’t think anything other than praise can be given to him. He’s always had an answer and could always give us an answer. I hope he enjoys the next chapter of his life.”
Mullendore said Andres’ replacement has been found internally.
Becky Schlienz, who previously worked as Sam’s assistant, will take on the role.
Mullendore said she received five other applications for the position, but Schlienz was the most qualified.
“She’s very bright, knows her stuff and learns very quickly,” Mullendore said. “She’s basically been Sam’s right hand man.”
“She’s more than qualified,” Andres said of Schlienz. “It will be a easy, smooth transition.”