Former Kent board chair resigns


Jim Saalfeld. Courtesy Kent County

Jim Saalfeld has announced he will resign his Kent County commission seat, effective March 15.

Saalfeld was re-elected to represent District 11 in November 2018 for a term that runs through the end of 2020. He was board chair from 2016-18.

The District 11 seat represents about 35,000 residents living in Grand Rapids Township, Ada Township and the city of East Grand Rapids.

Saalfeld stated he would have preferred to serve the remaining nine months of his term, but he would have to miss too many meetings for his role as CEO of Church Extension Fund, a nonprofit that helps finance Lutheran churches and schools in Michigan.

Saalfeld, a former Grand Rapids Township trustee, first ran for the 11th District seat in 2010 and won re-election in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

During his county board tenure, Saalfeld served as chair of the two permanent standing committees, headed several task forces and subcommittees, and served as both vice chair and chair of the board. In 2018, Saalfeld helped lead the process to name Wayman Britt as the new county administrator.

“With Wayman now firmly in place, and a new board chair in Mandy Bolter, I am confident that the board’s common sense and fiscally responsible approach to governance will continue into the future,” Saalfeld said.

During his nine years on the board, Saalfeld noted, the county has not raised taxes, has “only approved balanced budgets” and has maintained its AAA bond rating.

“There are several accomplishments I am particularly proud of, including improving 911 emergency dispatch, enhancing collaboration with local governments, promoting agri-business in the region, working to end lead exposure in our county and helping to maintain a fiscally responsible approach to governance.

“Today, I truly believe Kent County is in as good of shape as it has ever been.”

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