Ypsilanti’s City Manager has announced his retirement. The city council accepted the resignation of City Manager Ralph Lange during a 7:00 a.m. meeting, Friday, July 8.
In an emailed interview, Lange said that he is retiring “because I feel I have done all I can for the city.” He spent several months considering his decision before going through with it.
City Clerk Frances McMullan will stand in for Lange until his replacement is found. According to M-Live, it is not at all clear if Lange resigned of his own free will or not, but there has been a pattern of tensions between Lange and city council members for some time now.
“The City Council is grateful for Mr. Lange’s financial skills and his tireless work to find significant cost savings and efficiencies in our budget, even at times when others felt that it had already been cut to the bone,” Mayor Amanda Edmonds said in a written statement.
He has served since 2012. His “retirement” as Edmonds put it, will be effective on August 5.
The loss of the city manager comes at a critical time for the city. Depot Town’s train station has seen a severe decrease in passengers over the past 20 years. Lange and Edmond’s have teamed up with State Representative Rutledge to reopen it to commuters via the Amtrack line that runs through it, hoping it will also improve security through the integration of various law enforcement agencies and bring businesses to downtown.
Edmonds credited Lange with using his abilities to refinance the city’s debt, reducing it by $6 million and for helping create a millage program to salvage the Water Street project. Water Street is a project that was intended to expand downtown east of the river to a former Brownfield site where factories once stood. The project stalled in 2008 when the housing bubble burst.
When asked what his proudest accomplishment was, Lange said it was , “Placing the city in a much better position to get out from under its Water Street debt challenge long term” and said the biggest project he wishes he could stay for is “…getting rail service for the city.”
City councilor Daniel Vogt declined to comment. Attempts to contact other city councilors were not ultimately successful.