Kent County administrator announces retirement

Wayman Britt Courtesy Kent County

Kent County Administrator/Controller Wayman P. Britt announced his plans to retire from the county next year.

Britt will retire effective July 2021. He has held top administrative positions with Kent County since March 2004 and was appointed to his current post in January 2018.

“After 17 years serving Kent County, it will be hard to walk away from this job,” Britt said in his letter of resignation. “But I remind myself that I’m not walking away from this tremendous community. So many people have made an indelible mark on me — from our county team to those leading and making a difference out in our community. I’ll carry that with me well beyond my tenure here. I am honored to have had the board’s trust and grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the great people of Kent County.”

Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Mandy Bolter said she and Britt negotiated a six-month extension to his current employment agreement, which is due to expire on Jan. 24. The board will be asked to approve the extension Oct. 22, pushing contract expiration to July 24.

“On behalf of the entire board of commissioners, I want to thank Wayman for his commitment, dedication, leadership and true public service to the people of Kent County over the past 17 years,” Bolter said. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with him in service of our county and wish him the best on his well-deserved retirement.”

If approved, the terms of Britt’s contract extension will allow for an automatic renewal of successive 30-day periods until either the county or Britt serves written notice to the other of intent not to renew the agreement beyond the next 30-day renewal period. This provides the potential for month-to-month extensions as needed and will ensure that the board has adequate time to recruit and hire Britt’s replacement.

The board of commissioners will conduct a national search for Britt’s replacement. Specific plans have yet to be announced.

Britt joined the county as its assistant county administrator in March 2004. In July 2017, he assumed the interim county administrator/controller position and was hired to fill the position after the board completed a national search in January 2018.

Prior to his work with Kent County, he held operation and human resource management positions at Steelcase for 25 years.

Under Britt’s leadership, Kent County modernized its IT infrastructure; worked with First Steps Kent to create a funding source for early childhood services; helped launch the Kent County Population Consortium to address the need for a mental health crisis center; funded a new Kent County Parks Office, a northern county service hub and a new fleet service facility; developed and launched a comprehensive strategic plan; and hosted the first State of the County Address at DeVos Place Convention Center.

Most recently, Britt led the county’s public health and economic relief response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Britt is a founding board member of the West Michigan Sports Commission, Kent Schools Services Network, Grand Rapids Downtown Market and KConnect. He is a past member and chair of the board of trustees for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and served as president of the Gerald R. Ford Council of the Boy Scouts of America and treasurer of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market board.

He currently is a board member of the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy Association and trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

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