Kent County Board of Commissioners names leadership


The Kent County Board of Commissioners last week voted to appoint the members of its executive team for 2018, which include several incumbent leaders.

Commissioner James Saalfeld was re-elected as chair of the board, making 2018 his third year in the role. Saalfeld also announced it would be his last year as chair.

“I think it’s a great team that we have here in Kent County,” Saalfeld said. “Whenever there are issues that come up, Kent County is often looked to as the gold standard for how a county should operate. I am humbled and very thankful for being allowed to have this opportunity.”

Commissioner Mandy Bolter also was re-elected as vice chair of the board and chair of the Legislative and Human Resources (LHR) Committee.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we all care about our districts and our constituents, and it’s great to lead this crew,” Bolter said.

Commissioner Carol Hennessy was re-elected to serve as minority vice chair, and Commissioner Diane Jones will continue to serve as chair of the Finance and Physical Resources Committee.

New appointees include the appointment of Hennessy as vice chair of the Finance and Physical Resources Committee and Stan Stek as vice chair of the Legislative and Human Resources Committee.

Other members of the 2018 Finance and Physical Resources Committee include Tom Antor, Emily Brieve, David Bulkowski, Harold Mast, Betsy Melton, Roger Morgan and Harold Voorhees.

The other members of the 2018 Legislative and Human Resources Committee are Matt Kallman, Dan Koorndyk, Stan Ponstein, Phil Skaggs, Jim Talen, Ted Vonk and Robert Womack.

In other business, Saalfeld highlighted his goals as chair for 2018, which include the selection of a new county administrator/controller and addressing the loss of community mental health funds for the county.

The board also voted to appoint 55 residents and commissioners to 22 boards, commissions and committees. Appointments include members of the following:

  • Agricultural Preservation Board

  • Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan – Board of Directors

  • Community Health Advisory Committee

  • Community Action Agency Advisory Governing Board

  • Community Mental Health Authority Board (term begins April 1, 2018)

  • County Building Authority

  • Fire Commission

  • Friend of the Court Citizen’s Advisory Committee

  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority Board

  • Grand Valley Metro Council

  • Jury Commission

  • Kent County Family & Children’s Coordinating Council

  • Kent District Library Board (Region 8)

  • Kent Hospital Finance Authority

  • Lakeshore Regional Partners Substance Abuse Oversight Policy Board

  • Land Bank Authority

  • Millennium Park Architectural Advisory Review Board

  • Pension Board

  • Public Works Board

  • Remonumentation Peer Review Group

  • Road Commission

  • Veterans’ Affairs Committee

The county received more than 165 applications in August and September 2017 to fill vacant advisory positions. These residents and commissioners will advise and make recommendations on certain policies and procedures that affect the residents of Kent County.

“We continue to see great enthusiasm by citizens wishing to serve their community and make Kent County great,” Saalfeld said. “There were many outstanding applicants this year.”

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