East Lansing says its goodbyes to city manager

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By Keosha Burton
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

Many people gathered Sunday afternoon to say their goodbyes to former City Manager of East Lansing, Theodore J. Staton. A community farewell was held at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center in honor of Staton, who resigned as city manager after 16 years. Staton announced that he would resign after receiving a job opportunity as a city manager for Upper Arlington, Ohio.  Staton’s last day was Oct. 7. The farewell program included remarks from members of the City Of East Lansing, old friends and other members of the community. During the program, speakers shared memories and paid tributes and honors. Some were comical while others were emotional.

However, many spoke highly of him and shared their thanks and appreciation by words and gifts.

George Brookover, trustee of East Lansing public schools, talked about Staton as a person and how he’d be missed.

“Ted always displayed class, style, grace and most importantly, substance,” said Brookover. “He has set the bar high for city managers to come”

Others also agreed that the bar would be set high and that the job as city manager is something that Staton did well.


“You have been a remarkable city manager,” said Dr. June Youatt, senior associate provost.  “It takes a special kind of person to be a leader and you are that person.”

Although Staton will soon be no longer present in East Lansing, the community members felt that the best thing that he could leave with them was what he built.

“His greatest legacy is leaving what he built,” said Roger Peters, member of the East Lansing city council.

“I believe that he was able to build this type of organization because he was nurturing and allowed people to grow,” said Peter’s.

Staton also agreed that the organization had been built well but the more important thing was the comfort and joy he found in it.

“As proud as I am of the organization, it’s been an even better place to call home,” said Staton.  “A joy to live and play here.”

Community members expressed how Staton had touched them and how his support had done nothing but left them thankful and appreciative.

Chief of the East Lansing Police Department Juli Liebler shared her appreciative words.

“The support that we have gotten from him is very much appreciated,” Liebler said.

Kristin Shelley, director of East Lansing Public Library, shared her appreciation and gave thanks to Staton as well.

“Thank you for bringing us together as leaders you are very much appreciated,” said Shelley.

As some were grateful to have Staton and celebrate with him, others were honored.

Steven Brock, president of Michigan Local Government Management Association, was one who felt honored.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve on the board with him,” said Brock.  “We’re very proud of what you have done in East Lansing.”

Mayor Victor Loomis felt honored as well.

“It’s an honor to be here and be part of the ceremony as we conclude 16 years of outstanding service,” said Loomis.

Although many shared wonderful thoughts about Staton, he still found it hard to say goodbye.

“Its been a very painful thing to do, I miss it already,” said Staton.  “It’s been my privilege to have you all for 16 years, Its been a very bittersweet moment,” said Staton.

But nevertheless Staton was thankful.“I certainly want to thank the kind words that have been spoken by a number of people at this podium,” said Staton. As Staton closed the program with a sad goodbye, he assured the city of East Lansing that there was nothing to worry about, and that the new city manager would take good care of them.“The council and East Lansing are in good hands,” said Staton.

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