After much deliberation, Equity PAC leadership is endorsing the hiring of Carol Mitten for city manager.
We cannot risk a year or more of inaction in addressing policing, housing, immigration, and hundreds of new city hires when a good candidate has emerged. A delay or reboot in the selection of a city manager would only exacerbate the problems we face. The continuation of an interim situation will impact real lives and would only make sense if no good candidates emerged. Fortunately, we are not in that situation.
Equity PAC continues to have concerns with the hiring process for the city manager. We do not believe that the community had an opportunity to assess a complete slate of high quality candidates. The two other finalists came from smaller communities, and were unable to articulate equitable solutions to the dilemmas facing Grand Rapids. Furthermore, community engagement on the part of the city was poor. We would expect that the city should be held accountable in addressing these problems, especially prior to any future high profile hires.
However, despite these challenges, Mitten has emerged throughout the process as the strongest candidate. She appears poised to advocate for equitable policy given her executive experience in large metropolitan cities like Washington DC, and expresses the steadfastness and resolve needed when calling for equitable practices and accountability on a public stage. There is no question in our minds that she would be a large step forward from the status quo. She is what Grand Rapids needs.
The consequences of waiting will only yield greater inequity.