Grand Rapids’ human resources director retiring next year

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids’ human resources director is retiring next year.

After a 19-year career in the city, Grand Rapids Human Resources Director Desireé A. Frugé announced Monday, Dec. 5, she would be retiring in August 2023.

Frugé’s nearly two-decade career at the city spans a variety of management roles, including human resources analyst, senior human resources analyst, labor relations specialist and human resources director.

She was named the city’s human resources director on Dec. 31, 2017, according to the city.

As director, she led the human resources team in areas of recruitment and retention, risk management, benefits, wellness, labor relations and training and organizational development.

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington said Frugé helped enhance the local government’s workforce by having her team concentrate on “Grow Our Own” and local recruitment programs.

“Our organization has benefited greatly from Frugé’s hard work and dedication to the city of Grand Rapids,” Washington said.

“She has helped attract top national talent to our city, she’s revamped the human resources department through a reorganization and has helped maintain staffing levels during the great resignation by spearheading wage and benefit studies, implementing a popular wellness program and adopting better work-life balance programs for employees throughout our organization.”

Washington said a national search will be launched in the coming months to fill the human resources director position. The city will also be launching a search in the coming months to replace Grand Rapids Fire Chief John Lehman, who recently announced he would be retiring May 1.

Frugé said she is most proud of leading her team to success in strategic hiring efforts and renewed dedication to employee growth.

City officials say that, with Frugé at the helm of the HR department, the municipal government’s workforce has become more reflective of the community it serves. City officials said in 2022 more than half of all new hires to the city were women and people of color.

There were also new investments made in organizational development and employee wellness under Frugé’s leadership.

Frugé also played a major role in shaping the city’s current leadership team. During her tenure, the city hired key executive staff as well as a new police chief and nearly a dozen department leaders now responsible for executing the city’s strategic objectives.

“Within the city of Grand Rapids, we have seen our workforce grow and diversify,” Frugé said. “We’ve done that over the past few years during a challenging time for employers and employees. We were able to pivot quickly to recruit qualified new talent and support existing employees throughout the pandemic with leave time, remote work, and health and enhanced safety protocols within the workplace.

“I know our employees are at the center of our success as an organization and have helped us in our mission to elevate quality of life through excellent city services.”

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