ELK RAPIDS — There’s parity in parenting and politics. Take the word “no.” Neither toddlers nor townsfolk like hearing it. Yet artful parenting — like politics — can turn tantrums into treaties.
“You have to be a good listener, and sometimes, you have to say ‘no,’ no matter what the reaction will be,” said Marcia Price, mother of four and Elk Rapids’ first female Village Manager. “In both jobs, you get days with rewards — and days with disappointments.”
Parenthood prepared Price well for her position, though, unlike parenthood, she didn’t want the job at first. Price, 61, is shy, an accountant by trade, and liked being the Village Clerk, a position she took in 2004. Her family — husband Ken, 64, and children Ben, 35, Carissa, 32, Dustin, 27 and Franki, 24 — moved to Michigan from Ohio 20 years ago with Ken’s job transfer.
“I’m more of a ‘behind-the-scenes’ kind of person,” Price said. “I never pictured myself in politics.”
She drew boundaries when the long-serving village manager retired last year — she’d take the “interim manager” job only until village officials found a replacement. Council members’ heavy hinting for Price to take the position fell on deaf ears, said Dan Reszka, council president.
“We all hinted separately,” Reszka said. “The search was frustrating. We received hundreds of applications from people who wanted the job, but we wanted someone who was going to care about community, and care about the people. We already had that in Marcia.”
The persuasive, deciding factor was this: Price could keep her old job as long as she accepted the new one.
Price’s placard reads “Village Manager/Clerk” as the Council effectively created a new system that lets Price keep her duties, take on new ones and train an “assistant manager” who will fill her shoes when the time is right.