The administrator for Grand Traverse County abruptly resigned Wednesday.
Vicki Uppal served as Grand Traverse County administrator for only four months. She took over for Tom Menzel in September, and quickly began shaking things up in the county leadership.
Uppal fired Deputy Administrator Jennifer DeHaan, and the directors of finance, planning and human resources all resigned.
Commissioner Tom Mair says he agreed with most of the moves Uppal made. Mair says he was “shocked” when Uppal called him Wednesday with the news.
“She has her reasons, and we have to honor her reasons,” says Mair. “We have to move forward as a county.”
In an email to IPR, Uppal said “family obligations” are forcing her to leave her job. She called it “an honor and privilege” to work for the county.
At its meeting Wednesday night, the board of commissioners appointed Deputy Administrator Jean Derenzy to serve as interim administrator.
Board Chair Carol Crawford thanked Uppal for her service, saying she “set us on the right path.”
“I also want to say we are not adrift,” said Crawford. “We are not without leadership. We have the seven of us, correct? We are the leaders of this county, and we will continue to move forward in a positive direction. So don’t worry.”
Mair served on the committee that searched for a replacement for Tom Menzel. He says it’s a silver lining that the board is familiar with the process of searching for a new county administrator.
“We’re going to go though it again,” he says. “It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we just went though it. It’s pretty fresh in my mind.”
Commissioners plan to discuss their next move at a meeting next week.