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Council thanks Ritter



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April 24, 2013 - As he looks back on his tenure, Dennis Ritter feels he's accomplished a great deal, but wishes he could have done more. In particular, Ritter is proud the city "managed to grow our fund balance." He pointed out, "It was a huge accomplishment considering the massive drop in property values."

In addition, Ritter refers to his role in refinancing water bonds to get a better interest rate, which he said "saved the community $250,000" as a proud moment. "Overall, we've managed to maintain the level of service that our residents have come to expect and enjoy, and that's pretty darn important," he pointed out.

Ritter has served as City Manager since June 1, 2008. He said retiring "was a difficult decision, but it's time for a new person with a new set of eyes and ideas to help the community progress and grow and maintain its historical character."

While Ritter feels he has achieved much, he wishes he could have overseen capital improvement projects such as replacing the bridge at the South end of Depot Park. He regrets that the City could not keep their police department too.

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Before replacing Art Pappas as City Manager, Ritter worked as an Assistant Branch Manager at the National Bank of Detroit; he studied economics at the University of Michigan and served in the Army.

"I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the council and the community," Ritter said when he told the council he planned to retire. "Unforeseen by any of us were the overwhelming financial obstacles we would face," he said. "We were forced to dig deep and even create solutions."

Mayor Joe Luginski said, "It's a thankless job when you're in this position, and Dennis has done it very graciously and for a long time."

"I hate to see you go," said Councilman Stephen Hargis. "I appreciate all the help you gave me. It's been a pleasure to know you and work with you. We wish you well in your future endeavors," he added.

"Dennis had to follow Art, which was very tough shoes to follow," noted Carol Eberhardt who will replace Ritter as City Manager on April 22. "Well, he wasn't Art, and he was Dennis, and he did a fine, fine job," she said.

"It's been a pleasure to work with you, and I wish you well. I hope you enjoy your retirement," said Councilwoman Peg Roth.

"You will be missed," said Councilman Mike Sabol. "I take my hat off to you. We're going to miss you," said City Councilman Eric Haven.

Although he is retiring from public service, Ritter said "without question" he would stay involved in the community. In his retirement, he plans to travel to warm destinations.

An Open House will be held on Tuesday, May 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Village Hall to show appreciation for Ritter's service. All are welcome to attend.

Clarkston News reporter
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