Last weekend, three local communities are left with big shoes to fill after two longtime leaders resigned to move on to other jobs.
Friday was the last day for Mark Borden, administrator for Carson City since 2008. And Friday also marked the last day for James Freed, who has worked as manager for the village of Lakeview since 2008 and for the city of Stanton since 2011.
The six years Borden spent in Carson City were good ones for the community. He helped secure a $90,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a trail to connect city parks and, just recently, a $610,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for storm water, asset management and wastewater services.
Grants aren’t just pennies from heaven that fall into city’s laps. They’re the result of hours of research, time spent attending workshops and seminars and gathering information, something Borden spent countless hours doing.
Borden was also instrumental in helping the city hire (recently retired) police chief Bruce Partridge, who created a new culture of community policing in town and fostered a beneficial partnership between the city’s police department and Carson City Hospital. The relationship provided both the hospital and the city with extra police coverage during the night hours.
Borden is trading his local government job for a new adventure out east. He has accepted the position of vice president for business and finance at Baptist Bible College & Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pa., just outside of Scranton. This job will pair Borden’s head for business and finance with his strong faith.
Freed’s new position as city manager of Port Huron not only offers him a broader challenge — larger community, much bigger staff to manage, an expanded management role — but it also takes him closer to home and increases his salary significantly.
Freed, who grew up just outside of Port Huron, has put himself at times in the political hot seat with local issues, but he also has accomplished a lot for Lakeview and Stanton. He has been Lakeview’s village manager since 2008 and took on a combined role as Stanton’s city manager as well in 2011. The two municipalities had a shared services agreement, which saved each community an estimated $30,000 per year. It takes a certain personality and talent to juggle the issues of two unique communities and accomplish some of the things Freed has.
In Lakeview, Freed was instrumental in the completion of the Lincoln Avenue road project through the heart of the downtown. The village has expanded its economic base by adding more than $20 million in new investments and 60-plus new jobs in the past year.
In Stanton, Freed left the city in better shape than when he arrived, initiating a much needed $3.5 million infrastructure renovation of the city’s water and sewer system. The results of that project are crystal clear — literally, the city’s water no longer has a yellowish hue.
Like Borden, Freed also got the ball rolling on numerous park and recreation projects in both communities.
Borden and Freed were both outstanding leaders who left a positive mark on our area and we wish them well. All three communities now begin their process of hiring replacements and we are hopeful more good things are in store.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.