Berkley interim manager leads while city begins search process

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 16, 2024

 Nate Geinzer, who previously worked as Downtown Development Authority manager in Berkley years ago, was selected recently to serve as Berkley’s interim city manager.

Nate Geinzer, who previously worked as Downtown Development Authority manager in Berkley years ago, was selected recently to serve as Berkley’s interim city manager.

Photo provided by the city of Berkley


BERKLEY — Berkley continues to work toward finding a new city manager while its interim gets settled into helping run the town.

Current City Manager Matt Baumgarten will leave his role April 19. In the interim, Nate Geinzer will be city manager while Berkley conducts its search process.

This isn’t Geinzer’s first time working in Berkley, as he previously worked as the Downtown Development Authority manager in the city for several months in 2007.

“It was very early in my career and I had another part-time job working with the city of Brighton, and there was a part-time opportunity here,” he said. “I spent some time in that role and then had the opportunity to get my first full-time gig in the city of Farmington Hills as their manager’s assistant, which worked out well because I was still relatively young in my marriage and we were getting ready to have a family, and a full-time job is an important piece of that process.”

Geinzer only spent around seven months in Berkley, but from that period, he gathered that it was a strong community.

“I had always kind of wondered … why being adjacent to Woodward you didn’t see more activity at that time,” he said. “What’s really interesting is coming back 15 years later, there’s a lot more businesses in the area, there’s a lot more restaurants, there’s a lot more retail. The city’s clearly done something right in that time, because there’s a lot more active businesses along 12 Mile and Coolidge. I mean, the neighborhoods always seemed to be strong when I was here way back when, and they appear to still be very, very strong. So there’s been a lot of progress that appears in the community.”

After eight years working as assistant to the city manager in Farmington Hills, Geinzer served as the city manager of Brighton for six years.

He was selected from a list of candidates who gave their names to the Michigan Municipal League as people who can help municipalities during transitions such as this one.

Mayor Pro Tem Ross Gavin believes Berkley is in good hands with Geinzer as interim city manager based on his experience in local government and assisting cities with transitions to new city managers.

“Berkley would not be the first city that he’s helped do this,” Gavin said. “We’ve engaged GovHR (USA) to help conduct the search for a new full-time manager, and we certainly look forward to utilizing their vast network to find the right person for Berkley, but it certainly doesn’t hurt having a long-term connection to Berkley and understanding of the area.”

Berkley recently hired GovHR USA to conduct a national search for the next city manager. Gavin said the firm laid out a four-month timeline to find a candidate, but that timeline is “not hard and fast” and just a projection for this process.

“We want to make sure we’re doing this right,” he said. “We want to make sure to get it right, and we definitely anticipate over that process, whether it be four months, five months, that kind of thing, we anticipate having robust public input, staff input and just various other stakeholder input (as) a part of the entire process.”

Geinzer said that when he accepted the position, it wasn’t his intent to apply for the job full time.

“You never know what’s going to happen over time, but my interest is helping out multiple communities,” he stated. “It’s only been a week, but there’s some really great people here. There are some very passionate city employees. I’ve had some great conversations with elected officials. These are the kinds of people I get to work with and I’m looking forward to learning more about them, I’m looking forward to learning more about the opportunities and struggles that the city of Berkley is dealing with, and in the time that I have, I’ll do what I can to help keep things moving forward.”