County selects new leadership



The Kent County Board of Commissioners has a new chairman.

Commissioners voted unanimously for Jim Saalfeld to replace Dan Koorndyk, who served as chair for three years. Koorndyk, who will continue as District 18 commissioner, stepped down after three years as chair, in keeping with a commission tradition.

The commissioners also voted Shana Shroll and Carol Hennessy as vice chairs.

His experience

Saalfeld is the District 11 commissioner, serving as such since 2010. Prior to his election as chair, he also served as vice chair and chair of the Kent County Finance & Physical Resources Committee and the Kent Hospital Finance Committee.

Following his election at the Jan. 5 board meeting, Saalfeld mentioned several areas he’d like to focus on in 2016, including the funding model for community dispatch systems, space needs, making sure state-mandated boards are working and reviewing Kent County Land Bank funds.

“I very much cherish your confidence,” Saalfeld told his fellow commissioners following the vote.

Saalfeld is a director and in-house legal counsel for Bissell Homecare Inc.

He’s a graduate of Northwestern Law School, and serves on the Northwestern Alumni Board for West Michigan.

He holds a variety of leadership positions in the community, including the Arthritis Foundation of West Michigan, Michigan Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Grand Rapids Township Economic Development Corp. and Grand Valley Metro Council Board. He served as Immanuel Lutheran Church’s congregational president from 2001-2009.

Saalfeld also served on the Grand Rapids Township Planning Commission and was as an elected Grand Rapids Township trustee from 2007-2011.

Gov. John Engler appointed Saalfeld to the Michigan Higher Education Facilities Commission in 2001, where he served until 2006.

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