A Message from Mt. Pleasant City Manager Aaron Desentz

Since I joined the City of Mt. Pleasant as City Manager on October 18, I am blown away by the support and outreach of this extremely welcoming community. Each day I am more impressed with the City, and happy I made the decision to call Mt. Pleasant home. 

A little bit about me, I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2013, with a Master’s in Public Administration. Shortly thereafter, I was appointed as the Village Manager of Shelby, Michigan. Since then I have worked in local government for a number of other Michigan communities, with the most recent being Eaton Rapids. My wife Samantha and I have two dogs, Zander and Fenrir, and are excited to be moving into our new home in Mt. Pleasant.

As you can imagine, the past two weeks have been filled with meetings and I have met a number of great people in the community. I look forward to continuing the quality services our City of Mt. Pleasant organization provides, and welcome the opportunity to talk with residents. Please feel free to contact me, email: adesentz@mt-pleasant.org, phone: (989) 779-5321.

Nancy Ridley to Retire

When Nancy Ridley moved to Mt. Pleasant as a Central Michigan University student, she never imagined she would later become City Manager and oversee the multiple services provided to residents. After graduating from CMU with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Finance, Nancy remained on campus to continue her work in the finance area. Then in 1997, Nancy joined the City of Mt. Pleasant to fill the Finance Director role. In 2014, she was appointed City Manager.

When asked what prompts someone to seek out a career in municipal government Ridley replied, “Local government, although challenging at times, is very rewarding because you are able to see the results of your work, every single day.” She continued, “Whether it is the water that comes out of our faucets, the condition of the streets and sidewalks, an extensive park system, public safety, redevelopment projects, or trash and recycling programs, these functions all serve as reminders of what we, as local government, are tasked with on a daily basis.” 

Although water, streets, public safety and parks are a part of a resident’s daily experience, there is nothing routine about assuring these services are uninterrupted and of high quality. During her tenure as City Manager, more than $10 million was earmarked towards capital improvement projects for streets, water, sewer and the airport. Curbside recycling for rooming houses and multi-family residences was expanded, intersection and pedestrian lighting was enhanced throughout the city, 25 more miles to the sidewalk snow removal program were added, park amenities were upgraded, and accessibility was improved by constructing more sidewalks and bike routes. In addition, after receiving public input, the City Master Plan 2050 was developed and adopted, and the completion of the West Broadway Revitalization Project took place with the recent construction of the Broadway Lofts.

There are many challenges to being a City Manager, Ridley observed, “The biggest undertaking is meeting the needs of various groups such as; elected City Commissioners, city staff, residents/businesses and community partners. They all play vital roles, and balancing the needs of each group is extremely important and is not possible without strong partnerships.”

Throughout her past 7 years as City Manager, Ridley has strengthened affiliations with Central Michigan University, the Central Michigan District Health Department, Isabella County, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Union Township. A sampling of positive results flowing from this enhanced collaboration include: improving relationships between college students and residents in neighborhoods north of campus; four new grid streets connected to Mission Street to enhance safety; extending the non-motorized path through the south end of campus safely connecting Deerfield and Broomfield Roads; a cooperative COVID-19 response strategy; the establishment of Hannah’s Dog Park; the formation of both the Airport Joint Operations and Management Board and the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority.

Communication with community partners is key, and is also a major driver in the overall city staff culture set by Ridley. Reflecting on working with city staff Ridley shared, “I have enjoyed watching the growth and ingenuity of our staff members. We have been handed some tough issues and projects throughout the years and it always impressed me how staff, fueled by their dedication to city residents, would find creative solutions.”    

Due to COVID precautions, a public retirement reception for Nancy Ridley will not be scheduled. Individuals are encouraged to send a note to her at 320 W. Broadway, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 or email at nridley@mt-pleasant.org before her final day scheduled for October 29. 

Summary of Minutes of the Virtual Mt. Pleasant City Commission Meeting – 9/13/2021

Summary of Minutes of the electronically conducted regular meeting of the City Commission held Monday, September 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

Received petitions and communications.

Approved the following items on the Consent Calendar:

1) Minutes of the special meeting of the City Commission held August 21, 2021.

2) Minutes of the electronically conducted regular meeting of the City Commission held August 23, 2021.

3) Minutes of the closed session of the City Commission held August 23, 2021.

4) Minutes of the special meeting of the City Commission held August 26, 2021.

5) Bid of Pat McGuirk Excavating, Inc. for 2021-2024 Airport Snow Removal.

6) Bid of Escon Group for the purchase of two motor control center replacements and the appropriate budget amendment.

7) Contract amendment with JCI Jones Chemicals for sodium hypochlorite purchases.

8) Authorized the Mayor to sign the amendment to the parking enforcement agreement with CMU as presented.

9) Confirmed contract amendment with Isabella Corporation for storm sewer construction and the appropriate budget amendment.

10) Received proposed 2022 Annual Operating Budget and set a public hearing for November 8, 2021.

11) Resolution to amend the 2021 Operating Budget.

12) Received fall 2021 Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal 2% funding requests from city departments.

13) Warrants and Payrolls.

Held a public hearing and approved the resolution for a Redevelopment Liquor License for TNC Holdings, LLC at 203/205 W. Broadway St.

Held a public hearing and postponed action on PSD S.A. District #2-21 until the October 25th regular meeting to permit UUFCM time to reach a parking agreement with the library.

Held a public hearing and approved the resolution to rescind the recommendation for revocation of the Dayco Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT) abatement; and approved the resolution in support of transferring the Dayco Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT) abatement to MAC Liquid Truck Trailer (MAC LTT).

Authorized the Mayor and Clerk to sign a three-year agreement with Infosend, Inc. of Downers Grove, IL, for bill data processing, printing and mailing services.

Approved the employment agreement for City Manager position with Aaron Desentz.

Approved the amended Outdoor Dining Policy.

Approved Resolution Temporarily Permitting the Approval of Permanent Outdoor Dining Areas under Administrative Review. (CC Exh 12-2021)

Approved the scheduling of a work session discussion on the possibility of an outdoor ice rink at Island Park in the immediate future.

Approved and conducted closed session pursuant to subsection 8(h) of the Open Meetings Act to consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute.

Approved and conducted closed session pursuant to subsection 8(e) of the Open Meetings Act to consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure relating to 3 Is Enough v. City Clerk, COA Case No. 358405; Isabella Circuit Court Case No. 21-017193-AW.

Postponed the work session discussion on report from Ad Hoc Committee regarding local businesses to a future work session.

Adjourned meeting at 10:02 p.m.

Summary of Minutes of the Mt. Pleasant City Commission Special Meeting – 8/26/21

Summary of Minutes of the electronically conducted special meeting of the City Commission held Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

Agreed to offer a contingent offer of employment to Aaron Desentz pending the background check and contract negotiations.

Directed the committee utilized for the recruitment process continue with the contract negotiations. The committee is comprised of Mayor Joseph, Commissioner Alsager and Commissioner Tolas.

Adjourned the meeting at 7:25 p.m.

Topic to Watch at the VIRTUAL Special Meeting of the Mt. Pleasant City Commission – August 26, 2021

Here is the topic of discussion at the virtual Special Meeting of the Mt. Pleasant City Commission scheduled for Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 7 p.m.

  • Discussions regarding the City Manager Search due to Nancy Ridley’s retirement.

To view the entire meeting packet visit:  


How to follow public meetings during social distancing:

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, as allowed under the Open Meetings Act and consistent with the Isabella County Declaration of a State of Emergency (Resolution No. 20-12-03 effective 12-15-20), the City Commission Meeting will be held virtually. The public may view the meeting live on the City’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/MtPleasantMi/, on Spectrum Charter channel 188 or via Zoom.

Zoom Meeting instructions via computer, phone, or dial-in number are as follows:


Passcode: 133483

Phone dial-in: (312) 626-6799 

Audio and video will be muted for members of the public and then unmuted by the host during public comment periods.

  • For participants accessing via computer or smartphone please use the “Raise Your Hand” icon to indicate you would like to speak. First, click on the “Participants” icon at the bottom of your screen. Next, click on the “Raise Your Hand” icon near the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • To raise your hand for telephone dial-in participants, press *9.
  • Members of the public may be muted or removed if using abusive language or if they become disruptive to the meeting. Any citizen desiring to make a public comment on an agenda item may email their comments.

Attendance to the meeting and participation during public comment periods will be conducted as follows:

• Members of the public must provide their name and address with their comments.

• Comments/Questions may be sent ahead of the meeting in writing or emailed to comment@mt-pleasant.org.

• Individual commissioners can be contacted at the following email addresses:

Mary Alsager               malsager@mt-pleasant.org

Olivia Cyman               ocyman@mt-pleasant.org

Lori Gillis                      lgillis@mt-pleasant.org

William Joseph            wjoseph@mt-pleasant.org

Amy Perschbacher       aperschbacher@mt-pleasant.org

George Ronan             gronan@mt-pleasant.org

Pete Tolas                    ptolas@mt-pleasant.org

• Comments/Questions can be emailed to comment@mt-pleasant.org during the meeting and during normal public comment sections of the agenda.

• Comments sent via email will be read aloud to the Commission during the public comment periods.

Persons with disabilities needing assistance to participate may call the Human Resources office at (989) 779-5314. Persons requiring speech or hearing assistance may contact the City through the Michigan Relay Center at 711. A 48-hour advance notice is necessary for accommodation.

City Manager Interviews Scheduled for August 21

The City of Mt. Pleasant will be conducting public interviews for the City Manager position on Saturday, August 21, 2021 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at City Hall (320 W. Broadway Street). These interviews will not be live streamed, but recorded and available for viewing on the City’s YouTube channel.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed. Therefore, seating will be limited due to social distancing, and face masks must be worn per guidance from federal, state and local health departments.

The following candidates will be interviewed:

  • Justin Lakamper, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Edmore, Michigan
  • John Hanifan, City Manager, City of Chelsea, Michigan
  • Susan Montenegro, City Manager, City of Leslie, Michigan
  • Aaron Desentz, City Manager, Eaton Rapids, Michigan

As a result of current City Manager Nancy Ridley’s scheduled retirement in October, the City Commission hired Walsh Municipal Services to conduct the City Manager recruitment process. Out of 63 applications received, 10 candidates were presented to the City Commission for review. The City Commission selected four candidates to interview.

The City Commission will determine which candidate will move forward in the hiring process at their regularly scheduled virtual commission meeting, slated for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 23, 2021. As with all virtual City Commission meetings, citizens can watch this meeting live on Spectrum Charter Channel 188, web streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/MtPleasantMi/ or via Zoom.

Current City Manager Nancy Ridley, announced her plans to retire in April 2021. She has been employed with the City for 24 years.