Jennifer Shuster Named City Clerk, as Wicks Departs
Last Friday, Marie Wicks (above, left) finished her last day as East Lansing’s City Clerk, ending twelve years of service with the City. Wicks will be starting a new job with the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections. Jennifer Shuster (right) has been named by City Manager George Lahanas as the City’s new Clerk.
Schuster says that Wicks has been a source of inspiration for her: “She leaves behind a high level of excellence that I will strive to maintain.”
Prior to this position, Shuster served as the Chief Deputy County Clerk in the Ingham County Clerk’s Office. “As a graduate of MSU, East Lansing has always held a special place in my heart. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the new East Lansing city clerk and I look forward to working alongside the dedicated staff at the City of East Lansing,” said Shuster in a City press release about her appointment.
Those who work with the City of East Lansing say that this change involves a bittersweet goodbye and a new beginning. “I’m very excited to see what Jen will do,” said City Councilmember Aaron Stephens.
According to Stephens, Wicks’ dedication to democracy made her an excellent role model.
“The City Clerk’s position is not only part of the face of the community but it [represents] the adherence to democracy in the way that a lot of us don’t necessarily understand until you sit down with Marie and understand what her day to day life is,” said Stephens at City Council last week. “She’s a role model of mine for a number of reasons but probably one of the biggest is just her commitment to that ideology—her commitment to making sure that every vote counts and that everybody’s voice is heard.”
During her time as City Clerk, Wicks administered sixteen elections and served as the City’s Freedom of Information Act coordinator. For years, Wicks has also been encouraging citizens to get out to the polls and vote. Wicks initiated state legislation expanding voting access to disabled citizens.
Wicks was also instrumental in the City’s efforts to encourage Michigan State University students to vote. She was an active member of the YouVote initiative, which seeks to ensure that students have the resources they need to engage in civic participation.
“Her service not only in the City Manager’s office [as Assistant City Manager, prior to becoming Clerk] but in the City Clerk’s position has been outstanding,” said Mayor Mark Meadows. “She brings a great spirit, a wonderful personality and is somebody who can roll with the punches.”