AP NEWS

Foster starts as Ludington city manager

March 19, 2019

Ludington’s new city manager, Mitch Foster, had his first day on the job Monday, and he’s already pretty busy.

“I’m just getting caught up on a lot of different projects, issues and things going on, so it’s been fun,” he said. “Plus I get to set up my office, have a little fun meeting with staff and just get those conversations rolling.”

Foster, a 30-year-old who grew up in Scottville, finished his time as the village administrator for Winneconne, Wisconsin, and moved to Ludington on Friday. He and his wife, Rebecca, are renting a house in Ludington within walking distance of city hall. They have a year-long lease, and they plan to look for a house to buy after their lease ends, he said.

Rebecca is still living in Winneconne, working until the end of April and searching for a job in Ludington, Foster said.

Foster said he needs to re-familiarize himself with Ludington’s neighborhoods, especially the east side of the city. He said he’s going to explore the city by walking or biking — which is also how he plans to get to work on most days.

“I find it’s a whole lot easier to see what’s going on at 2 to 5 mph instead of 25 (mph). You see everything I little bit clearer,” Foster said. “Plus you see it from your residents’ and neighbors’ perspective who live in those areas.”

There are many ongoing projects in the city that Foster will need to get up to speed on, he said, and he’ll be preparing for Monday’s city council meeting.

On Wednesday Foster, Mayor Steve Miller and councilors Kathy Winczewski and Cheri Rozell will go to Lansing for the Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference to meet with the state legislature and agencies.

Foster plans to meet with local business owners, as well as to host Meet the Manager events in every ward of the city for the purpose of introducing himself to the community and also to hear from residents about their concerns, regarding both what the city government is doing well and what it needs to do better.

“Eventually that will lead to goal-setting with the staff, with the councilors and the mayor,” Foster said. “We’ll really just try to find out, ‘Are we missing something? Is something going on that nobody’s talked about before? What do you see every day in your neighborhood that we should start addressing?’”

Foster said he hopes to make friends and likely join a community service organization, such as the Ludington Optimists.

“And I’ve still got to find out what golf course I’m going to belong to. That’s a big deal for me — that’s my spare time in the summer,” Foster said, laughing.

“My office is always open,” he added. “I hope people stop by, find me on the street, talk to me, introduce themselves, try to become friendly with me, express concern, and know that I care about this place and I want to build a new life here.”