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Akkala set to retire in January

November 20, 2009
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Marquette City Manager Judy Akkala announced her retirement this morning.

She will remain as city manager until Jan. 15. According to Mayor John Kivela, Marquette Police Chief Mike Angeli will serve as interim city manager until the Marquette City Commission names her replacement.

Akkala, 62, has served as Marquette's city manager the last four years and worked for the city the last 11. Akkala said she had mixed emotions on leaving her position.

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"I'm leaving this position in January, on the fifteenth, with a feeling of great accomplishment and gratitude, extreme gratitude for all the people who have been involved. The citizenry have been absolutely wonderful in their response to what I've been doing in the city and how I've accomplished it," she said.

Akkala said a big reason she decided to retire was that she believed the current commission can move the city forward in a positive manner. After her retirement, she said she'll spend time at a 3-acre hobby farm in the Trenary area she recently bought. However, she didn't entirely rule out some sort of return to government.

"You don't know who's going to tap you on the shoulder and say 'Hey, how about doing this?' So you certainly don't close those doors after you've served in government for so many years and found it to be enjoyable," she said.

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Akkala was appointed interim city manager in July 2005, replacing of Gerald Peterson, who resigned at the height of a movement to recall four city commissioners for their action to fire former city attorney Bonnie Hoff.

She took over the reins of a fractured commission and city. The Hoff firing split commissioners into two camps, leading to communication breakdown between commissioners and administration. The firing and recall effort also divided the community.

"When I first took the position the city was in turmoil," Akkala said. "We didn't have a city attorney, we were in the midst of getting a new police chief, a new city clerk, a public works superintendent and a city planner."

Ultimately, all four commissioners targeted were recalled and Akkala was officially named city manager in January 2006.

Prior to her appointment as interim city manager, Akkala served as the city's human resources director for seven years. Prior to that, she worked as the city manager of Munising for seven years. Akkala was also the city administrator of downstate Auburn.



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