Kent County leadership posts change hands


As expected, Kent County commissioners selected Dan Koorndyk as their new commission chairman and Jim Saalfeld as the board’s new vice chairman Thursday.

Both were the only candidates nominated for the leadership posts, and both were selected by unanimous votes. The two officials are Republicans.

Republicans will maintain their 15-4 advantage over Democrats on the commission board for the third consecutive year in 2013.

Koorndyk served as vice chairman in 2012 during Sandi Frost Parrish’s third and final year as commission chairwoman. He also chaired the county’s Legislative Committee last year.

“I truly appreciate my colleagues for electing me board chair for 2013,” he said.

Saalfeld served as vice chairman of the Finance Committee last year and also formed and chaired the county’s collaboration work group.

“I really appreciate the board,” he said.

Democrat Carol Hennessy was unanimously re-elected as the commission’s minority vice chairwoman, a post she has held for the previous three years.

Koorndyk appointed commissioners Harold Voorhees and Hennessy to chair and vice chair, respectively, the county’s Finance Committee for 2013.

Koorndyk also named Saalfeld as chairman of the Legislative Committee and Commissioner Mike Wawee as the panel’s vice chairman.

Koorndyk will chair the county’s Executive Committee, and he will be joined on it by Saalfeld, Wawee, Voorhees, Hennessy and the committee’s immediate past chair, Sandi Frost Steensma, formerly Sandi Frost Parrish.

New commissioners Nate Vriesman, Joel Freeman and David Bulkowski were sworn in prior to the leadership elections. Vriesman and Freeman are Republicans, while Bulkowski is a Democrat.

The outgoing commissioners were Dick Bulkowski — a brother to David Bulkowski — Jack Boelema and Bill Hirsch. Dick Bulkowski and Boelema didn’t seek another two-year term. Hirsch was narrowly defeated in the August primary.

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