Kemppainen to retire from village

BARAGA – Baraga Village Manager Roy Kemppainen is planning on retiring, and the village council has begun the process of seeking a replacement.

“I’ve been on the council for many years, and he’s been the best,” council member Doug LeClaire said of Kemppainen. “He’s very good at dealing with people.”

Kemppainen hasn’t yet officially tendered his resignation and plans to remain in his post through the end of the year, but the village council began the process of seeking a replacement Tuesday by approving $8,000 to the Michigan Municipal League to guide them through their search for a new manager.

“It’s good to have someone at our interview to make sure we ask the right questions, and I really believe they do a good job,” said council President Wendell Dompier, noting that there’s no reason to delay the search.

“Roy’s getting antsy, it’s getting sunshiny,” he joked.

Kemppainen said he’ll have served Baraga for seven years in May, and said his proudest visible achievements included upgrades to the village water treatment plant, rebuilding Main Street and improvements to the marina and boardwalk.

Perhaps even more important, though, has been improving the village’s financial situation.

“I think we’ve been pretty fiscally responsible,” he said. “The overall financial picture is better than seven years ago.”

He said he plans to stay in the area after retirement, do some golfing, and travel a bit in the winter.

Dompier said Kemppainen’s ability to work with local businesses has been important to the village, and said he’s always worked well with council members.

“He’s had a good open door policy for all of us,” Dompier said. “You could always sit down and talk.”