Executive Profile:


Christine Burns, Village Manager, Village of Spring Lake

“There is always more than one way to approach a situation and always more than one side to a story.”

Community Basics

Number of employees:
8 FT/6PT on the payroll, numerous others are contractual (such as my planner, zoning admin, finance director)

Annual Budget:
General Fund budget is $1,431,108. Total budget is about $5M.


Professional Path

Years in the Profession:
I will celebrate 27 years on 07/09/18.

College Attended and Degree Program:
Central Michigan University (Fire up CHIPS!) 1990 B.S. in Business Administration with a Management major; 2006 MSA in Public Administration.

What path lead you to your current position?
I started working for the City of Clare in 1991 as a Deputy Clerk/Treasurer. I then went on to be the Assistant to the Manager before becoming the City Clerk. City Management was the next logical step for me.

What do you enjoy most about being a city manager?
I like that every day is different and you solve problems.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
When I was first trying to get into city management, it felt like there was a stigma attached to being a city clerk.

What are some of the most important skills it takes to be a city manager?
It requires a great deal of patience as well as the understanding that things are rarely as they seem. There is always more than one way to approach a situation and always more than one side to a story. You also have to be part psychologist to deal with the public and staff.

What project has been most meaningful in your career to date?
Probably something to do with collaboration. That’s what I enjoy doing the most. I’m continually asking myself, “Is there a better/cheaper/more cost effective way to do ________?”


Career Advice

What is your best tip for entering the profession?
Always keep an open mind and don’t take things personally!

What is your best tip for succeeding in the profession?
Find a great mentor.

How do you establish the best relationship with your elected officials?
Simply spend time with your elected officials to get to know them. It helps to know what makes them tick and why they approach certain topics a certain way. It helps when you can see their perspective.