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YMCA leader resigns

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:35 PM

Ron Bultje, president of the local YMCA’s Board of Directors, confirmed Tuesday that Buntley recently resigned after seven years at the helm of the facility. Buntley’s active employment ended May 30, according to Bultje, who would not say whether Buntley was asked to resign or left by his choice.

“He has resigned, that’s all I can tell you,” Bultje said.

Buntley did not immediately respond to a message left for him on Facebook.

Michelle Bailey-Mesler, the fitness and program director for the Grand Haven YMCA, has been appointed acting CEO, according to Bultje.

Bultje said Bailey has more years of experience than other department heads. She started teaching fitness classes at the Y more than a dozen years ago and has served as fitness and program director since 2009. She was the fitness director of a YMCA in Central Kentucky for a year and half prior to moving to Grand Haven in 1999.

Bailey-Mesler earned a degree in health and rehabilitative programming at Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in exercise physiology at Ball State University.

“We appreciate her stepping up,” Bultje said. “Summertime is a busy time. Camps are going on. Races are going on. We don’t want to burn her out, but we’ll see how things go.”

The national YMCA will likely assist with a transition and search team, Bultje said.

“We’ll consider various options,” he said. “We don’t have anything concrete in place right now as far as the procedure we will use. We’re going to take our time and do it deliberately and thoughtfully.”

Bultje said choosing a replacement will be the decision of the 17-member board, and hiring Bailey-Mesler as the permanent CEO is not out of the question. However, he has not had that conversation with her and does not even know if she would be interested in the position.

Although Bultje declined to elaborate on Buntley’s departure, he praised Buntley’s commitment as CEO.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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