By BRIAN McGILLIVARY firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Two women with similar experience and identical starts in city government will pass each other as they enter and exit as city government’s second-in-command.
Makayla Vitous will retire today after more than two decades working for the city, where she held the roles of deputy city clerk, assistant to the city manager and assistant city manager. Penny Hill, who led the Village of Kalkaska for six years as village manager, will replace her on April 21. Hill also started her career in city government as a deputy clerk 26 years ago in the Upper Peninsula town of Bessemer.
“Makayla has been with the city for 22 years and it’s a big loss for us to lose someone with that institutional knowledge,” said Jered Ottenwess, city manager. “She’s been an outstanding resource for the city and it’s tough to see her go.”
Vitous said she most enjoyed the variety of her tasks in the second-floor manager’s office.
“When I first came up here all the department heads gave me the things they didn’t want to do,” Vitous said. “It turned into a lot of odd things I never thought I’d learn.”
The variety continued because Vitous said her duties included getting new projects or initiatives set up before handing them off to department heads. Now she’s handing everything back to the department heads to clear the decks for her replacement, Ottenwess said.
“Penny brings excellent experience and a tremendous skill set to the position,” Ottenwess said. “We’re excited to have her.”
The job change made a lot of sense, Hill said, both financially for her family considering the $74,000 salary, and the ability to stay near Kalkaska.
“I’ve made a lot of good friends here and I’ll be able to keep that same circle of friends,” Hill said. “There’s a lot going on here as well, and a lot of projects I started are coming into play right now so at least I will be close enough I can see them finished.”
Hill said her long tenure in northern Michigan and relationship with a lot of the grant and regulatory agents will benefit the city and Ottenwess, who spent a significant portion of his career in Florida.
“Traverse City has a lot going on and it’s exciting to be part of that,” Hill said. “I think Jered and I and the rest of his staff are going to make a real good team. I think we’ll do a good job together for Traverse City.”