Grand Rapids names its first African-American city manager

The Grand Rapids City Commission has appointed the city’s first African-American city manager.

Mark Washington was chosen over city managers of Novi and Ferndale. He comes to the West Michigan city from Austin, Texas, where he most recently served as assistant city manager for three years, according to a city news release.

He had been with the city of Austin since 2009 and in local government for more than 20 years.

Former city manager Greg Sundstrom retired in February after eight years in the position and 35 in government service. Former Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong has served in the interim, and Washington is expected to start in September.

“I was very impressed with all the interviews. That said, I was happy to know that Mark Washington was very familiar with GARE (Government Alliance on…

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