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Ionia City Manager: Jason Eppler

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Public service isn’t for everyone, it takes countless hours of commitment, studying, networking, problem solving, and hard work to be successful. Those are just a few words that describe Ionia City Manager Jason Eppler.

City Management is a diverse job, with many different aspects. To become a City Manager in Ionia specifically, you must be appointed by the vote of the Mayor and the City Council. City Managers are responsible for managing the city’s budgeting, collective bargaining (negotiations over pay and perks of city employees), land use, human relations, and the cities parks and recreation department. There are many necessary aspects to run a city in a functional manner, “City Managers are behind the scenes, but we are also an important part of getting things done,” Eppler said.

Eppler is not new to Public Administration and City Management. To date, he has logged nearly 25 years, serving multiple years in Cassopolis, Michigan as Village Manager, and Dewitt and Ionia both as City Manager. Eppler knew before college that he had an interesting in public administration,“I knew I had an interest in serving in some capacity in public service. I didn’t know if that would mean being city manager, planning director, or finance director, but I did have an interest in working in local government.” In his pursuit to work in local government, Eppler attended Northern Michigan University to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration, and Western Michigan for a Masters degree in Public Administration.

Every job has pros and cons, City Management is no different. Eppler believes the most common problems that he deals with is citizen requests to the city. Eppler hears from a variety of people who share their concerns, “People that feel like they have been wronged by the system, an officer who stopped them when they were going only a few miles per hour over, or a tax bill they feel they are not responsible for.” Eppler emphasized one of the big parts of managing a city is to make sure you take every complaint seriously, and not brush over it if possible.

City Management, although diverse, provides exciting opportunities as well too, and there are rewarding aspects as well. Eppler’s sees the most rewarding aspect of his job as the ability to take an idea and making it a reality in the city. “For example, the bridge over M-66, that idea came from some sessions that our planning commision had, as sort of a what if…and that what if became a design, grant funding, and now it’s built,” Eppler explained. Making a vision a reality is the goal of a lot of public officials, for Eppler it is what he works for on a daily basis.

If there is one thing Eppler has learned over 25 years, it would be you have to know your limits, “I think 25 years ago I thought there was no problem that I couldn’t solve, now I realize there are more problems that I can’t solve, than I can.” Eppler values a balance between his work life and his personal life, on his own time, he enjoys raising his three children, mowing his lawn, and walking his dog.

Public service will always be ingrained in who Ionia City Manager Jason Eppler is as a person, to Jason Eppler public service is, “Taking every inquiry seriously, and being responsive to the citizens in a timely manner.” I have had the pleasure of having this man as my father, and know that he takes his job extremely seriously, and strives to make the city a better place to live than when he moved here. Public service can be a difficult job, and I am honored to say my father’s strong motivation, and work ethic has shown through his work, and rubbed off on me.  

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The student news site of Ionia High School
Ionia City Manager: Jason Eppler