Stypula leaving Metro Council

August 5, 2011
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After eight years of serving as executive director of the Grand Valley Metro Council, Don Stypula told board members last week that he is retiring from the post.

“I’ve made a decision to call it a career,” he said.

Stypula came to the council in 2003 and replaced Jerry Felix, who resigned to take a job in the commercial real estate field. Stypula said he would stick around for another six months or so, until the board hires a new director. “As I stand here now, a year from now I see a very positive picture,” he said of the council’s immediate future.

Stypula said multiple factors led to his decision.

“There are a lot of reasons. But I’m out of gas. It’s been eight years and the Metro Council needs new leadership,” he said. Stypula added that he felt there are a number of worthwhile potential candidates available to take over his post.

He said another reason for his decision was he recently learned that a close, lifelong friend unexpectedly died from liver cancer just nine days after he was diagnosed with the disease.

“So it’s time to do something else. I’ll do some consulting work, some advocacy, and maybe open an ice cream stand,” he said. “Thanks for putting up with me for eight years.”

Stypula was born in Detroit but raised in Livonia, and he beat out 64 candidates for the Metro Council position. He came to GVMC after spending 13 years in Lansing with the Michigan Municipal League. He also has handled communications for the state Senate Central Staff, worked for the state Democratic caucus, was a news correspondent for radio and TV stations in Lansing, and was a morning news anchor at WMAX, then an AM radio station in Grand Rapids.

Stypula, 58, is married and has two daughters.

GVMC Chairman and Grandville Mayor Jim Buck said Stypula was the ideal choice for the position when the council hired him. At the time, Buck said, the board needed to create a bigger and better presence in Lansing and Washington, D.C., and Stypula has accomplished that. Buck also said Stypula has pushed the notion of governmental collaboration forward in his time with the council.

“We are the envy of the state when it comes to collaboration,” said Buck.

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