Saalfeld promises hard work, fiscal common sense


The new year has brought changes to Kent County boards, commissions and committees.

A new chair and two vice chairs were elected to the county Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s commission meeting; the board also voted to approve 43 appointments to various county boards, commissions and committees, including the City/County Building Authority, Kent District Library Board and the Kent Hospital Finance Authority.

With commissioner Dan Koorndyk stepping down after a three-year term as chair of the board, county commissioners elected Jim Saalfeld to replace him. He had been vice-chair since 2013 and has served on the commission since 2010. Saalfeld is in-house counsel at Bissell Homecare.

“When I ran for commission, I promised I would work hard to bring fiscal common sense, good judgment and integrity to the county commission,” Saalfeld said. “These are the same ideals that will guide me as chair of the board.”

The board also elected Shana Shroll and Carol Hennessy as vice-chairs. Shroll will continue as chair of the Legislative and Human Resources Committee, with Hennessy as vice-chair.

Dick Vander Molen was selected as chair of the Finance and Physical Resources Committee, with Diane Jones as vice-chair. Vander Molen announced his retirement from the board following this year. He began his stint on the board in 1987.

“When I first came on, I was one of the youngest people here,” he said. “I’ve seen lots of changes. It’s been a great experience.”

Following the Board of Commissioners appointments, the 43 appointments to other county positions were made. More than 100 residents applied for vacancies in August and September, and three teams of commissioners reviewed résumés and interviewed applicants prior to the decisions.

“The interview process is quite thorough,” Saalfeld said. “We look at the candidates closely to make sure they will bring great life experience to the table to help us make informed, educated decisions. We appreciate that so many people are civic-minded and want to be engaged in making Kent County better.”

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