New administrator is the 1st-ever female on the job

August 26, 2015

Stratil, ChelseaBy Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

SHELBY — Chelsea Stratil began her new job as village administrator this week, breaking some historical barriers in the small community.

Stratil, 26, is the first woman to ever hold the position, and she is the youngest.

Stratil was unanimously hired by the village council earlier this month, replacing Aaron Desentz who resigned last June to take a job as the city manager in Leslie, Mich.

The new village administrator is among a three-member staff in the village office, including Clerk Julie Schultz and newly-hired Treasurer Tammy Woodring.

“This is a very diverse community, and I want to relate to everyone,” she said.

The Spring Lake native has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Ferris State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University. During her senior year at Ferris, Stratil was honored as “Outstanding Political Science Student of the Year.” As part of her graduate studies, she studied abroad during an intense one-and-a-half week trip to Seoul, S. Korea.

The village council approved a two-year $40,000-per-year contract for the administrator.

Stratil, who lives in Fruitport Township with her husband, got her start in the field when she was 14 years old. As a teen, she began working at the former Yogi Bear Campground (now Grand Haven RV Resort). She worked at the resort until 2012, working her way up the ladder to assistant general manager. In that position, Stratil managed 30 employees, she said.

Stratil most recently worked as the hub operations manager for Pathways to Better Health of the Lakeshore in Muskegon.

Stratil also coaches cheerleading for the Spring Lake Youth Cheer program, overseeing a group of 26 fourth graders.

She said that she is looking forward to meeting village residents during an open house at the new village offices in the former Lakeshore Medical office, Sept. 24, from 6-8 p.m. “I want the community to get used to us being here, and I want to meet everybody,” she said.

One of her goals as the new administrator is to “open up the communication lines,” she said. “My phone is attached to my hip.”

She is open to suggestions and ideas, she said. “There is always room for improvement.”

Prior to Stratil coming on board, the village went through a recent controversial period with the departure of several employees; heated arguments among council members; the recent resignation of a council member; and an unsuccessful attempt to recall council members.