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City of Lansing loses two senior officials to new opportunities, retirement

Flickr - MI SHPO

Two members of Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s cabinet are stepping from their positions.

Lansing’s Economic Development and Planning Department Director Brian McGrain resigned at the end of January. He’s leaving his role with the city to serve as the executive director of Michigan Community Action, a non-profit working to address poverty.

The department manages parking enforcement, zoning, building safety and housing. McGrain oversaw multiple development projects, including the opening of the Lansing Shuffle food hall.

Schor said McGrain played an important role in bringing economic investments into the city.

“He's done a great job with all of that to make sure that that department is in good shape, and so, I definitely appreciate all his work,” Schor said.

Human Resources Director Linda Sanchez-Gazella also retired last week. She has worked with the city for 17 years under three Lansing mayors, including her uncle, the city's first Latino mayor Tony Benavides.

Chief Labor Negotiator Elizabeth O’Leary will become the next Human Resources Director. Barbara Kimmel will direct Planning and Economic Development in the interim as the city searches for a permanent successor to lead the department.

Mayor Andy Schor says Sanchez-Gazella and McGrain should be celebrated for their time serving the city.

“Two great, wonderful individuals," Schor said. "We were lucky to have them for as long as we did. And now we will have other great individuals running these departments.”

Schor says he’ll decide who should be the permanent director of the Economic Development and Planning Department in the coming months.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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