Berkley city manager to leave after 8 years

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 2, 2024

 Matt Baumgarten

Matt Baumgarten


BERKLEY — The city of Berkley soon will have a big change of leadership in its city government.

Matt Baumgarten announced March 18 that he will be leaving his job as city manager. He has served in his position for the last eight years.

“I have loved serving this incredible community for the past eight years as city manager and I am honored to have worked alongside so many talented and passionate professionals at the City of Berkley,” Baumgarten said in a press release. “I am proud of what a special place Berkley is to live and work, and I credit that to our incredible City employees who put so much of themselves into their work to drive progress.”

Baumgarten elaborated to the Woodward Talk that the decision to leave was one that was slowly brewing and that he ultimately made the decision to find a job that allowed him more time with his family.

“(The city manager’s job is) just a position that demands a lot of an individual, but even working in the same city demands a lot of the family, too,” he said. “It just felt like family was taking the brunt of some of the decisions that I’ve had to make as a leader in a public institution.”

Baumgarten’s last day will be on April 19. For its April 1 meeting, which occurred after the Talk went to press, the City Council had on its agenda two items related to the city manager’s position. One was to appoint Nate Geinzer as the interim city manager and the other was to hire GovHR USA to lead a national search for the next city manager.

Hired in 2016, Baumgarten led Berkley through many projects and initiatives, such as accreditation for the Public Safety Department through the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, the installation of inclusive park playground equipment, and investments in the city’s fire equipment.

What Baumgarten said he was really proud of was the team that had been built in Berkley at the Public Safety Department, Parks and Recreation Department and Department of Public Works during his tenure.

“I’m really proud of that aspect that is changing the culture, embracing one that is people first (and) was public service centric,” he said. “We put some really capable people into leadership positions at all of our departments, and that is where I’ll be holding my head highest.”

Mayor Bridget Dean said Baumgarten has a long list of accomplishments in Berkley and she looks forward to his continued presence outside of his role as city manager.

“While he won’t be in city leadership, he will certainly be in the community continuing to be involved in the ways that he has on a personal level,” she said. “The family is very active. Matt is involved with the Berkley Steelers football. … We’ll continue to see Matt’s smiling face around the community and we’ll benefit from his involvement in so many things that are Berkley.”

Baumgarten plans to remain working in public service and said that he’s looking for something in the region so he can continue to stay in Berkley with his family.

“The city remains as strong as ever,” he said of Berkley now compared to where it was when he was first hired. “I would say … the city government as an organization is stronger than it was for sure. We’ve made some big improvements in a lot of different aspects and I’m proud of it.”