Ludington seeks new police chief, treasurer. 

August 30, 2022

Ludington seeks new police chief, treasurer. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The City of Ludington is currently in the process of replacing its police chief and treasurer. Police Chief Timothy Kozal’s official last day is Sept. 2. However, Kozal is currently using up paid time off and was sworn in Monday, Aug. 29, as the City of Muskegon’s director of public safety. Treasurer Mary Jo Wittingen accepted a job position with the Mason County Treasurer’s Office. Her last day was Aug. 24. 

Former Chief Timothy Kozal

Kozal began working in Ludington in May 2020, replacing Mark Barnett, who retired after serving the city for 19 years. Prior to coming to Ludington, he was the director of public safety for the City of Manistee for three years. City Manager Mitch Foster said the city has posted the position on multiple sources with an application deadline of Sept. 20. A search committee will narrow down the candidates. The committee consists of Foster, Jackie Steckel, assistant to the city manager, Kathy MacLean, chair of the downtown development authority, John Henderson, fire chief, and Les Johnson, third ward councilor and chairman of the personnel and finance committee. 

Foster said, in addition to the committee, a firm has been hired that will assess the candidates. A public meet and greet event is also planned for the public to meet the finalists. Foster said the committee is searching both internally and externally. Ultimately, the final decision is up to the city manager. 

Capt. Steve Wietrzykowsk has been appointed interim chief. Foster said he would like to have a new police chief in place by the Nov. 14 meeting of the city council. 

While the police chief is an appointed position, the city treasurer is an elected position. Wittingen was elected as a write-in candidate in 2020, replacing Tom Ezdebski, who chose not to seek re-election. The term expires in 2024, meaning that the city council would appoint a treasurer to serve out the current term. That person could then chose to seek election. 

Because the position is an elected position, even an appointed treasurer must be a resident of the city, who has lived in the city for at least one year. 

Foster said the issue of electing the treasurer and the clerk raises some considerable challenges. 

“This is one of those things that most cities the size of Ludington have changed over to appointing the treasurer and clerk,” Foster said. The city’s charter currently states the treasurer and clerk are to be elected. “I know it’s one of the topics that the charter revision commission is looking at.” 

Foster said modern government operations require qualified personnel to handle treasurer and clerk duties. 

“We have been lucky to have qualified people in those positions, but anyone can run for election,” Foster said. “If you look just down the road, the City of Scottville appoints its clerk and treasurer.” 

Anyone wishing to be considered for the treasurer position can learn more here. Anyone wishing to be considered for the police chief position can learn more here. 

 

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