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Grand Rapids Committee on Appointments advances 3 finalists to fill vacant Third Ward seat

Grand Rapids Committee on Appointments progresses in filling the vacant Third Ward seat, shortlisting 3 finalists after interviewing 7 candidates. Public input welcomed for final decision; livestreamed interviews available.
The Third Ward finalists (from left to right: Bing Goei, Marshall Kilgore, John Krajewski)

The Third Ward finalists (from left to right: Bing Goei, Marshall Kilgore, John Krajewski) /The City of Grand Rapids

This article was created in part through the work of the Grand Rapids Documenters.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Documenters and to read their notes from previous public meetings, visit

An audio version of this story is available here.

Nearly two months after former Third Ward Commissioner Nathaniel Moody formally resigned from the Grand Rapids City Commission, the Grand Rapids Committee on Appointments has recommended three finalists to fill the vacancy.

The Committee on Appointments interviewed seven candidates — Bing Goei, the founder of the Goei Center and CEO of Eastern Floral and Gift Shop; Marshall Kilgore, the director of engagement for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC); John Krajewski, the principal of Hopkins Elementary School and former Grand Rapids Police Department officer; Catherine Conklin, a real estate agent for 616 Realty; Reginald Howard, the founder of Hero’s Corner Grand Rapids; Al Willis, a self-employed contractor; and Barbara Snell, a healthcare paraprofessional at Godfrey-Lee Public Schools — during a public meeting Tuesday.

Later that evening, the City announced Goei, Kilgore and Krajewski as the three finalists who will go on to be interviewed again on March 5 by the full City Commission. 

A decision may be made at that meeting, but if more time is required, the City has identified March 19 as a secondary date for casting a vote.

The City’s press release states that “public comment on the Third Ward applicants will be welcomed” at the March 5 City Commission meeting. Residents also have the option of submitting written public comments to the Office of the City Clerk by emailing [email protected].

When asked to what extent the Commission will consider public comments when making the final decision, Steve Guitar, City of Grand Rapids media relations manager, said “public comment allows a commissioner to gather and collect other sources of relevant and pertinent information before making the best decision on behalf of the constituents each represents.” 

Initially, nine candidates passed the City’s vetting process to fill this seat. However, two individuals, Grace Lusamba and Victor Williams, were removed from consideration because their applications did not include references, according to Guitar. 

The four-year term for this vacant position began Jan. 1, 2021, and expires Dec. 31. To remain in this position next year, the appointed candidate will need to run in the next non-partisan primary on Aug. 6.  

Residents can learn more about the Third Ward finalists by watching the livestreamed interviews on the City’s YouTube page or by reading through the candidates’ redacted applications and essays on the City's website.

Updated, 10:05 a.m., 2/22/2024, Clarification that Committee on Appointments selected the finalists.
Updated, 12:02 p.m. 3/7/24, correction of Goei's occupation

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