Board of Commissioners

Boards, Commissions & Committees

An Opportunity for Citizen Involvement

The Kent County Board of Commissioners annually seeks (typically in September) Citizens interested in serving the community through appointment to its boards, commissions and committees. More information can be found here on the origin of Kent County Appointed Boards, Commissions, and Committees.

Interested citizens may view all current vacancies and apply online for service. Applicants are able to include a cover letter and professional resume in .PDF file format. For more information, please contact the Board of Commissioners' office.

List of Boards, Commissions, and Committees

Agricultural Preservation Board

The Board of Commissioners adopted a Purchase of Development Rights Ordinance on November 26, 2002, which included the establishment of a County Agricultural Preservation Board.  Per statutory/ordinance guidelines, the Board shall consist of one County Commissioner, three representatives with agricultural interests, one representative from township government, one individual with real estate or development interests, and one individual representing local conservation interests.  The Board shall oversee the County's farmland preservation program and shall be responsible for, among other things, establishing selection criteria for the ranking and prioritization of application to the program, reviewing and providing oversight in scoring all applications according to the adopted selection criteria, and establishing the price to be offered to the property owner and authorize negotiations for the purchase of development rights and agricultural conservation easement, subject to approval of the Board of Commissioners. The Agricultural Preservation Board usually meets once a month at the Kent/MSU Extension Office, 775 Ball Ave.  For more information, visit the PDR section of this website or contact Kent/MSU Extension at 336-3265.

Back to top

Area Agency on Aging of Region VIII - Advisory Council

The Advisory Council is an advocacy group that focuses on legislative issues of importance to older adults. There is one citizen member who must be 60 years old or older. The Council meets the first Monday of the month at 1:00 p.m.  For meeting locations and specific dates, visit www.aaawm.org. There is no meeting in January or May.  

Back to top

Area Agency on Aging of Region VIII - Board of Directors

The Board makes policy decisions for Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, which is a non-profit planning, funding, and advocacy organization for older adult programs. There is one citizen member who must be 60 years old or older. The Board of Directors meets eight times a year on the fourth Monday of the month at 1:30 p.m. For meeting locations and specific dates, visit www.aaawm.org

Back to top

Canvassers

The Board of Canvassers consists of two members from each major political party and is appointed by the Board of Commissioners upon recommendation of the Kent County Clerk/Register and the chairs of the two parties. Board members serve four-year terms. The Board is responsible for canvassing and certifying election results and conducting recounts. The Board meets at 1:00 PM on Wednesday following a Tuesday election at 300 Monroe Ave NW.

Back to top

City/County Building Authority

The charge of the City/County Building Authority is to construct and monitor facilities to completion as contracted jointly by the City of Grand Rapids and Kent County.  There are three citizen members: one appointed by the Board of Commissioners, one by the Grand Rapids City Commission, and one jointly by the City and County Commissions.

The City/County Building Authority typically meets on an as needed basis.

Back to top

Community Corrections Advisory Board

The Community Corrections Advisory Board (CCAB) was established in 1988 under Public Act 511 and was given the power to adopt a comprehensive corrections plan in order to reduce the number of admissions to prison and to reduce the prison commitment rate of non-violent felony offenders.  This Board advises the Office of Community Corrections. There are two citizen members. The CCAB meets during the months of February, May, September and November at 7:30 a.m. on the 5th Floor of the Kent County Courthouse, 180 Ottawa (meeting day subject to change). 

Back to top

Community Health Advisory Committee

The Community Health Advisory Committee (CHAC) was established by the Kent County Board of Commissioners on April 3, 2001, in order to expand community participation in public health issues, to function as Health Department ambassadors in the community, and to be the Health Department’s “eyes and ears” in the community. CHAC operates in an advisory capacity and provides input targeted towards specific health issues identified by the Health Department. Committee members include two members from the Board of  Commissioners, one member from the Healthy Kent 2020 Board, one member from a faith-based organization, two members from community-based organizations, three members from health care provider organizations, and one member each from the Kent Intermediate School District and the Kent County Department of Human Services. Annually, CHAC will evaluate its effectiveness with the submission of a performance self-assessment related to CHAC’s purpose and the level of member support lent to Health Department initiatives. It will also be asked to provide input to the County Administrator/Controller regarding the effectiveness of the Administrative Health Officer and the Medical Director. 

The Committee meetings at least four times per year.

Back to top

Community Mental Health Authority Board (network180)

The Community Mental Health Authority Board has the responsibility and authority to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families of all ages and residents of Kent County whom require mental health services. The Board manages state and county funds to provide services to mentally ill and persons with developmental disabilities. There are nine citizen members. 

The Board meets the first Monday of each month at 5:15 p.m. at Network180, 790 Fuller Avenue NE

Back to top

Concealed Weapons Licensing Board

Per State statute, the Board of Commissioners shall appoint a Concealed Weapons Licensing Board consisting of the County Prosecuting Attorney (or a certified arms instructor), the County Sheriff (or his or her designee), the Director of the Department of State Police (or his or her designee), and the County Clerk who shall serve as the clerk of the Concealed Weapons Licensing Board.  If the County Prosecuting Attorney decides that he or she does not want to be a member of the Board, he/she shall notify the Board of Commissioners who will appoint a replacement who is a firearms instructor.  Except as otherwise provided in the enabling act, the Concealed Weapons Licensing Board has exclusive authority to issue, deny, revoke, or suspend a license to carry a concealed pistol. 

The Board meets the first Thursday of every month at 9:00 a.m. on the Third Floor of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.

Back to top

County Building Authority

The charge of the County Building Authority is to construct and monitor facilities to completion as assigned by the Kent County Board of Commissioners.  Projects are usually financed by an appropriation from the Board of Commissioners through the sale of bonds. 

The Building Authority meets the first Wednesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.  There are five citizen members.

Back to top

Department of Human Services Board

The Department of Human Services Board and the Department of Human Services (DHS) are responsible for the administration of social service programs and the distribution of funds as appropriated by the State Legislature for public assistance grants.  The DHS Board is also responsible for discretionary fund allocations to community-based human service agencies. There are two citizen members. This Board generally meets on Wednesdays of each month at 7:30 a.m. at the Department of Human Services, 121 Franklin St. SE. Contact the Department of Human Services at 248-1000 for specific dates. 

Back to top

Fire Commission

Operating under MCLA 45.3 and MCLA 124.1, the Fire Commission provides a means for the participating units of government to purchase fire apparatus. It also provides a centralized bidding system for various supply items and insurance. All seventeen participating departments are staffed by volunteer firefighters. There are five members who are from the units of government that participate in the financing and support of fire departments. The Fire Commission meets at the Kent County Road Commission Offices, 1500 Scribner NW, on the second Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m.  The Fire Commission also holds one evening meeting during the year at a select location.

Back to top

Foreign Trade Zone Board

A foreign trade zone is a site within the United States where foreign and domestic merchandise are considered by the U.S. Government as not being within the U.S. customs territory but in international commerce. The Foreign Trade Zone Board was created with the sole purpose of applying for and obtaining the privileges of establishing, operating, and maintaining foreign trade zones in Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa Counties. This board consists of representatives from the three counties (four from each county) and meets on a quarterly basis. There are two citizen members. The meeting place is determined at the beginning of each year.

Back to top

Friend of the Court Citizens Advisory Committee

This Committee advises the Circuit Court and the County Board of Commissioners regarding the Office of the Friend of the Court, its duties and performance, and on the community’s needs relative to the services provided by the Friend of the Court.  This Committee also reviews randomly selected grievances from the Office of the Friend of the Court.  There are six citizen members:  an advocate for children, a representative of custodial parents, a representative of non-custodial parents, a family law attorney, a mental health professional, and a member of the general public.  The Committee meets the first Monday of every odd numbered month at noon in Room 311 of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.  More information can be at Friend of the Court.

Back to top

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRFIA) Board

The principal responsibility of the Aeronautics Director, the Aeronautics Department, and the GRFIA Board is the operation, financing, maintenance, and development of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport to provide safe and adequate air transportation facilities for the citizens of Kent County, and to develop sufficient revenue to meet operating expenses, capital improvements, and contractual bond obligations. There are four citizen members. Three shall be Kent County residents, and one shall be an individual living outside Kent County (Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Montcalm, Muskegon, Mecosta, or Ottawa) and shall represent private sector businesses. The GRFIA Board meets once a month in the Airport Board Room, 5500, 44th Street SE.  For specific meeting dates and times, visit www.flygrandrapids.org

Back to top

Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority

Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids established the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority in March 2002 pursuant to Act 203 of the Public Acts of Michigan of 1999, MCL 141.1401. By taking such action, the County agreed to assist in the development, construction, and operation of a new convention center in downtown Grand Rapids, and oversee the operation of the VanAndel Arena. There are two citizen members, including one from the private sector, who has experience in economic development. The Authority meets the first Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in Room 310 of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW. 

Back to top

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council

The mission of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council is to advance the current and future well-being of the people of the Grand Rapids metropolitan community by bringing together public and private sectors to cooperatively advocate, plan for, and coordinate the provision of services and investments which have environmental, economic, and social impact. The Metropolitan Council usually meets once a month on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in Room 310 of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.  Members of the Council shall be a member of the legislative body of the unit of government or its chief administrative officer.

Back to top

Housing Commission

The Housing Commission obtains Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to assist low-income families living in Kent County with finding and paying for affordable rental housing. There are five citizen members. Meetings are held at 9:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Housing Commission Office located at 82 Ionia Avenue NW, Ste. 390. 

Back to top

Human Services Committee

The Committee was formed in 1974 to provide effective working relationships between local social services departments, local health departments, and local community mental health boards. The function of this Committee is to exchange information and to explore ways in which the various local agencies dealing with human services can work together efficiently and effectively.  There are no citizen members on the Human Services Committee. Meetings are typically bi-monthly on the third Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Room 311 of the County Administration Building.

Back to top

John Ball Zoo Advisory Board

The Zoo Advisory Board was created as part of the Agreement between the City and the County when ownership of the park and zoological garden was transferred in 1989. Per the Agreement, the purpose of the Board is established by the Board of Commissioners. The current charge includes reviewing and making a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners regarding the proposed budget, plans, major programs, service contracts, and fee structures. In late 2013, the County approved a Lease and Operating Agreement with the John Ball Zoo, a non-profit Corporation, to operate and manage the park and zoo. As a result, the specific charge and reporting structure of the Zoo Advisory Board will be changing in 2014. The Zoo Advisory Board meets quarterly in the Administration Board Room at the Zoo, 1300 West Fulton. For specific meeting times, contact the John Ball Zoo at 336-4301.

Back to top

Jury Commission

The Jury Commission is appointed by the Board of Commissioners upon recommendation of the Kent County Circuit Court Judges.  The Commission may not consist of more than two members of the same political party.  Board members serve six-year terms.  The Jury Commission selects the names of prospective jurors from current drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.  There are three citizen members who are qualified electors of Kent County.  The Jury Commission meets quarterly, beginning in February in the Jury Assembly Room in the Kent County Courthouse, 180 Ottawa Avenue NW.  Call 632-5045 for specific meeting times, or check the event calendar at www.accesskent.com.

Back to top

Kent County Family & Children's Coordinating Council

This Council serves as a forum for service providers to work together to coordinate and improve services for children, youth, and families in Kent County. The Council is made up of the directors of the County and State departments that provide services to families in Kent County and representatives from businesses, private agencies, private funding organizations, consumers, and advocates. The Council meets seven times per year. For more information, visit KCFCCC.

Back to top

Kent District Library Board

The Kent District Library Board consists of eight members with each member representing a certain region of the County.  The district identifies its participating municipalities as 26 units of government (excluding City of Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs) which have approved the District Library Agreement.  The Board meets once a month at the District Headquarters, 814 West River Center, Comstock Park, as well as at participating libraries.  For more information on meeting times and locations, visit www.kdl.org.

Back to top

Kent Hospital Finance Authority

The Kent Hospital Finance Authority was created and incorporated by the City of Grand Rapids and the County of Kent to provide certain private, nonprofit hospitals with the ability to finance, refinance, and refund indebtedness related to hospital facilities. There are four citizen members. The Authority meets annually and at such additional times as required by such hospitals. Meetings are held at the offices of Rhoades McKee, 600 Waters Building, 161 Ottawa Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, and are open to the public. 

Back to top

Land Bank Authority

The Land Bank Fast Track Authority was created as a public body corporate and politic within the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth under the Land Bank Fast Track Act, 2003 PA 258, MCL 124.751 to 124.774, and is authorized to enter into intergovernmental agreements with county foreclosing governmental units providing for the creation of a county authority to exercise the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of an authority under that act. The Treasurer of Kent County is a foreclosing governmental unit under the Land Bank Fast Track Act.  The Board of Commissioners established an Authority for Kent County as a separate legal entity and as a public body to exercise the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of an authority under the Land Bank Act for the benefit of the County and the State.  The County Land Bank Authority shall consist of the following members:  County Treasurer; one member of the County Board to be appointed by the County Board; one member of the Grand Rapids City Commission to be appointed by the County Board; one township board member located in Kent County to be appointed by the County Board; and one city council or commission member for any city located in Kent County, other than Grand Rapids, to be appointed by the County Board. There are no citizen members on the Land Bank Authority.

Back to top

Local Development Financing Authority

The City of Grand Rapids has established a high-tech SmartZone. The SmartZone will emphasize the biotechnology industry by encouraging business development related to the Van Andel Institute. The new SmartZone legislation allows the City to create a Local Development Financing Authority, which can capture approximately 50 percent of new taxes in a designated area, or areas, to fund incubator space, infrastructure improvements, and marketing. (The State will make up any school tax increment captured by the Authority).  The Authority is to be appointed by the taxing units of the district. The Mayor, with the approval of the City Commission, will appoint seven.  The Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent has two appointments. The Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners and Grand Rapids Community College President will each have one. City staff will provide administrative support. There are no citizen members on the Local Development Finance Authority.

Back to top

Millennium Park Architectural Advisory Review Board

Millennium Park Architectural Advisory Review Board acts to ensure Millennium Park's architectural/design remains consistent with its Master Plan and as a clearinghouse for the numerous ideas regarding the Park development. Membership includes one representative from the Design Community, three representatives from the Business Community, and three County Commissioners. This Board meets as needed in the Kent County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.

Back to top

Officers' Compensation Commission

Pursuant to Public Act 485 of 1978, the Kent County Board of Commissioners established an Officers' Compensation Commission to determine the compensation of non-judicial elected officials of the County (i.e., County Commissioners, Sheriff, Prosecutor, Clerk/Register of Deeds, Drain Commissioner, and Treasurer). There are seven citizen members on the Commission. The statute authorizes the Commission to meet every even year to determine the compensation for the following two calendar years.

Back to top

Pension Board

The Pension Board is charged with overseeing the investments of the Kent County Employees’ Retirement System and hiring investment managers. The Board consists of two citizen members, three County employees, and two County Commissioners.  The Pension Board meets at 8:00 a.m. on the third Wednesday in February, May, August, and November in the 2nd Floor Training Room of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.

Back to top

Public Works Board

The Department of Public Works is a county service agency authorized under Act 185 of the Public Acts of 1957 as amended.  The department has the ability, based on contractual arrangements with a municipality (or municipalities) to design, construct, inspect, and finance public improvements in the areas of water supply and treatment, sanitary sewage collection and treatment, storm sewers and industrial waste collection and treatment.  The Department of Public Works also manages the Waste-to-Energy Incinerator, the North and Sound Kent Landfills, and the Recycling & Education Center.   The Public Works Board oversees the various duties of the Department of Public Works.  There are no citizen members on the Public Works Board.  The Public Works Board meets every month at the Kent County Road Commission Offices, 1500 Scribner NW.  For more information, go to Public Works Board.

Back to top

Road Commission Board

The Board of County Road Commissioners is responsible, along with the Managing Director, for overseeing road planning, design, construction, and maintenance of the 2,000 mile network of County primary and local roads.  There are five citizen members. The Board meets twice a month beginning in January at the Kent County Road Commission Offices, 1500 Scribner NW. Visit www.kentcountyroads.net for specific dates and times.

Back to top

Solid Waste Management Planning Committee

The Kent County Solid Waste Management Planning Committee is established by Kent County under Part 115 of Public Act No. 451 of 1994 as amended.  The Kent County Board of Commissioners appointed the Kent County Board of Public Works to serve as the designated planning agency.  Appointments to the Committee are for two years and may be reappointed for an additional two years.  The Committee provides advice, consultation, and assistance to the designated planning agency for preparation of the solid waste management plan, as needed.  The Committee shall consist of four representatives of the solid waste management industry, one representative from an industrial waste generator, two representatives from environmental interest groups from organizations that are active in the County, one representative from County government, one representative from township government, one representative from city government, one representative from the regional solid waste planning agency, three representatives from the general public who resides within the County.  The Committee meets six times per year.

Back to top

Veteran's Affairs Committee

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee is required by State law to review and approve requests from veterans for emergency assistance, to disburse funds from the County’s veterans’ emergency fund to support indigent veterans and their families, and to oversee the activities of the County’s Veterans’ Affairs Department. The Committee appoints a veterans’ affairs office manager to staff the Veterans’ Affairs Department and ensures that services funded by the County to assist veterans are provided appropriately and equitably. The Committee, comprised of five honorably discharged veterans who have served in wartime, is appointed by the County Board of Commissioners for four-year terms. This Committee meets once a month in the Veterans’ Affairs Office, 82 Ionia Avenue NW.  See Veterans Affairs for more information, or call 632-5722.

The mission of Kent County government is to be an effective and efficient steward in delivering quality services for our diverse community.  Our priority is to provide mandated services, which may be enhanced and supplemented by additional services to improve the quality of life for all our citizens within the constraints of sound fiscal policy.

Contact Us

Board of Commissioners

County Administration Building
300 Monroe Avenue NW
Grand Rapids MI 49503

(616) 632-7580

(616) 632-7585

Employee Recognition

Nominate a Kent County Employee for Quality Service!