New city manager takes the helm in Keego Harbor

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 28, 2019

 New Keego Harbor City Manager Jered Ottenwess has been with the city since early February and has a 10-year background in city management.

New Keego Harbor City Manager Jered Ottenwess has been with the city since early February and has a 10-year background in city management.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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KEEGO HARBOR — Jered Ottenwess has about a month under his belt as Keego Harbor’s new city manager. 

Ottenwess, who has a 10-year background in city management, started his new post Feb. 4 at City Hall after being appointed by the five-member CityCouncil.

“They collectively interview and make a decision on who they interviewed,” he said Feb. 27. “(They) selected me as their top candidate; I am thrilled. It seems like a really good fit.
The City Council has been very welcoming and excited to have me here.”

During a Feb. 21 City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Robert Kalman welcomed the new city manager. 

“I want to officially welcome you to town, to our city, small city,” Kalman said, adding that he encourages people to get to know Ottenwess. “We are very happy to have him — he’s got good municipal experience, good planning experience.”

City Councilwoman Karen Meabrod agreed.

“It is so comforting knowing you are here, Jered,” she said. “We really do welcome you to the city of Keego Harbor.”

Ottenwess said during the meeting that the “welcome has been outstanding.”

Former City Manager Linda Voll, Ottenwess’ predecessor, had to leave “abruptly,” he said, due to health reasons.

“It was a really difficult transition for the City Council and staff when you have somebody who has been here for years and who all of a sudden has to leave — that was last Memorial Day,” he said. The city had an acting city manager until the end of last year, “until they realized they had to search full time for a city manager.”

Ottenwess — who has three children, ages 5, 8 and 10 — was a stay-at-home dad for the past four years. 

“It’s been a big change for me,” he said, adding that it is nice to be back at work and back in his field.

Ottenwess has about 10 years of city manager experience, starting as the manager of a small Florida town outside of Gainesville. He was there for a number of years before he moved back to his home state of Michigan, heading to a small town in the Upper Peninsula, Ishpeming, to be the city manager there, and later working in Traverse City.

He “moved around quite a lot growing up,” but he was born in Grand Rapids and finished high school in Portage.

“I’m kind of from the west side of the state,” he said.

Ottenwess went to the University of Michigan, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in urban planning.

He said that his first priority is to get to know about the City Council and learn its priorities. He said he looks forward to discussions on in-depth budget plans for the upcoming fiscal year, building projects in the city and more.

The salary for the city manager position is $75,000 annually.

For more information, go to www.keegoharbor.org.

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