Board of Commissioners

Boards, Commissions & Committees

An Opportunity to Get Involved

The Kent County Board of Commissioners annually seeks (beginning in August) residents interested in serving the community through appointment to its boards, commissions and committees. Interested residents may view all current vacancies and apply online for appointment. 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 & 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 tax 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 or contact Kent/MSU Extension at (616) 632-7865.

  • Matt Kallman - Commissioner
  • Russell Slater II - Agricultural Interest Representative
  • Dennis Heffron - Agricultural Interest Representative
  • Suzie Reinbold - Real Estate / Development
  • Edward Robinette - Township Representative
  • Dan Oesch - Agricultural Interest Representative
  • Gretchen Mousel - Conservation Representative
Back to top

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan - 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 There is no meeting in January or May.

  • Harold Mast
  • Monica Sparks – Commissioner
Back to top

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan - Board of Directors

The Board of Directors makes policy decisions for the 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 location and specific dates visit

  • Carol Hennessy - Commissioner
  • Nancy Nielsen
Back to top


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.

  • Frederic Overeem
  • Jane Uyl
  • Pamela Richter
  • Esther Turner
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 the County Commissions. The City/County Building Authority typically meets on an as needed basis.

  • Wayman Britt
  • Emily Bridson
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 the prison commitment rate of non-violent felony offenders. This Board advises the Office of Community Corrections. The CCAB meets during the months of February, May, September, and December at 7:30 a.m. on the 5th Floor of the Kent County Courthouse, 180 Ottawa Avenue NW (meeting day subject to change).

  • Jim Talen - Commissioner
  • Judge Jeanine LaVille – District Court
  • Klinton Thorne - Sheriff’s Designee
  • Prosecutor Chris Becker
  • Judge Patricia Gardner – Probate Court
  • Kristen Gietzen – Service Provider
  • Judge Mark Trusock – Circuit Court
  • Christine Witters – Probation Representative
  • Scott Noto – General Public
  • Police Chief Kim Koster
  • Laura Joyce – Defense Attorney
  • Carolyn Sutherby – Business Community Rep
  • Angelina Morales – Media Representative
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 of the Board of Commissioners, one member at large, one member from a faith-based organization, two members from community-based organizations, three members from health care providers, and one member each from the Kent Intermediate School District and the Kent County Department of Health & 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 Health Officer and the Medical Director. The Committee meets five times per year.

  • Emily Brieve - Commissioner
  • Betsy Melton - Commissioner
  • Lisa Knight - Community-based Organization
  • Chris Stemler – Faith-based Organization
  • Ron Koehler - Kent ISD Representative
  • Paul Haan - Community-based Organization
  • Dr. Lori Pearl-Kraus - Health Care Provider
  • Savator Selden-Johnson - Kent DHHS Representative
  • Dr. Mark Swan - Health Care Provider
  • Andy Johnston - At Large Member
  • Dr. Lisa Lowery - Health Care Provider
Back to top

Community Mental Health Authority Board (Network180)

The Community Mental Health Authority Board (Network180) 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.  The Board meets the first Monday of each month at 5:15 p.m. at network180 with the exception of holidays. All meetings are held at 790 Fuller Avenue NE apart from the annual public hearing in April, which is held at 775 36th Street SE. 

  • Stan Ponstein – Commissioner
  • Jim Talen - Commissioner
  • Stan Stek - Commissioner
  • John Matias
  • Caroline Dellenbusch
  • Thomas Dooley
  • Nelson Grit
  • Helen Michelle Cole-Mickens
  • Larry Oberst
  • Clyde Sims Jr.
  • Emily Helder
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.

  • Sean Fitzgerald
  • Ross Leisman
  • Dennis Mosson
  • Michael Jaskula
  • Robert Myers
Back to top

Department of Health & Human Services Board

The Department of Health & Human Services Board and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) 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 DHHS Board is also responsible for discretionary fund allocations to community-based human service agencies. This Board generally meets on Wednesdays of each month at 7:30 a.m. at the Department of Health & Human Services, 121 Franklin SE. Contact the Department of Health & Human Services at (616) 248-1000 for specific dates. There are two citizen members.

  • Betty Zylstra
  • Jerry Kooiman
  • Bruce McCoy
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 Office, 1500 Scribner NW, at 8:30am on the second Friday of each month except for April, July, October and November. The Fire Commission holds evening meetings in October at a selected location.

  • Tom Antor - Commissioner
  • Roger Morgan - Commissioner
  • James Morris
  • Jacqueline Smith
  • Carlton Blough
  • TBD – Elected Official
  • Julius Suchy
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. The meeting place is determined at the beginning of each year. There are two citizen members.

  • Wayman Britt
  • Paul Howland
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. 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. The committee is comprised of a custodial parent, a non-custodial parent, a family law attorney, a mental health professional who provides family couseling, and two members of the general public, the Sheriff or designee, Prosecuting Attorney or designee, and the director of the Department of Health and Human Services or designee. More information can be found at Friend of the Court.

  • Felicia Clay - Mental Health Professional
  • Dave Bulkowski - Commissioner
  • Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt
  • Alexandria Polk - Custodial Parent
  • Kyle Quinn - Family Law Attorney
  • Amy Wright - DHHS Designee
  • TBD – Non-custodial Parent
  • Michelle Smith-Lowe - Prosecuting Attorney Designee
  • Malique Grear - General Public Representative

Back to top

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRFIA) Authority

The principal responsibility of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRFIA) Authority 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. The GRFIA Authority meets once a month in the Airport Board Room, 5550 - 44th Street SE. For specific meeting dates and times visit Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The Board consists of seven members. No more than three members may be elected officials, and at least one shall be an individual living outside Kent County (Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, or Ottawa) and shall represent private sector businesses.

  • Roger Morgan, Commissioner
  • Ted Vonk, Commissioner
  • Dan Koorndyk
  • Doug Small
  • Birgit Klohs
  • Floyd Wilson Jr.
  • TBD – Non-County Resident

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, as amended. 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 Van Andel Arena. The Authority meets the first Friday of each month at approximately 8:30 a.m. in Room 310 of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW. There are two citizen members – including one from the private sector, having experience in economic development.

  • Steven Heacock
  • Richard Winn
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.

  • Mandy Bolter – Commissioner
  • Diane Jones – Commissioner
  • Wayman Britt
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 find and pay for affordable rental housing. Meetings are held bimonthly at 11:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Housing Commission Office located at 121 Franklin St SE, Ste. 110. There are five members:

  • Jason Grinnell
  • Lisa Knight
  • Joshua Lunger
  • Courtney Panter
  • Kristen Ward
Back to top

Jury Commission

The Jury Commission consists of three qualified electors of the County appointed by the Board of Commissioners on recommendation of the Kent County Circuit Court Judges. Board members serve six-year terms. The Jury Clerk selects the names of prospective jurors from current driver’s licenses and state identification cards. They meet annually in May in the Jury Assembly Room in the Kent County Courthouse, 180 Ottawa Avenue NW. Call (616) 632-5045 for specific meeting times, or check the event calendar at

  • Kenyatta Brame
  • Arlen-Dean Gaddy
  • Jacqueline Smith
Back to top

Kent County Community Action Advisory Governing Board

The Kent County Community Action Advisory Governing Board is a tri-partite board with representation from the public, private and consumer sectors equally. Most importantly, the Advisory board oversees the provision of services to persons with low incomes in Kent County to assist in the alleviation of poverty. The Advisory board is charged with providing recommendations regarding organizational, fiscal, and program policies. The Advisory board is also responsible for accepting the annual, programmatic and fiscal reports throughout the year. The Advisory board meets every other month at Noon on the third Thursday of the month starting in January.

  • Catherine Aldridge – Consumer Sector
  • Kendrick Heinlein – Consumer Sector
  • Thomas Oosterbaan – Consumer Sector
  • Hattie Patterson – Consumer Sector
  • Reyna Quintino – Consumer Sector
  • Tricia VanderHaar – Private Sector
  • Benjamin Escalante – Private Sector
  • Judy Knapp – Private Sector
  • Wende Randall – Private Sector
  • Christina Swiney – Private Sector
  • James Geisen – Public Sector
  • Samarhia Griffel – Public Sector
  • Ruth Kelly – Public Sector
  • Carol Glanville – Public Sector
  • Jessica White-Hatinger – Public Sector
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 six times per year. For more information, visit KCFCCC.

  • Candace Cowling, Advocate/Consumer
  • Jackie O’Conner, Area Agency on Aging
  • Jacob Maas, Area Community Svcs & Employment Training
  • Lynnette Ferrell, Private Funding
  • Chris Becker, Kent County Prosecutor
  • Judge Patricia Gardner, 17th Circuit Court Family Division Judge
  • Kristen Gietzen, Private Agency, Arbor Circle
  • Cynthia Gladyness, Advocate/Consumer
  • Lynn Heemstra, Consumer/Advocate
  • Bill Ward, Interim Network180 Director
  • Ron Caniff, Kent Intermediate School District Superintendent
  • Jim Paparella, Private Agency
  • Tracey Fountain, Kent County Department of Health and Human Services Director - Public Welfare
  • Adam London, Kent County Health Department
  • Diana Sieger, Private Funding
  • George Meek, Business Representative
  • Melanie Beelen, Advocate / Consumer
  • Kasie Pickart, Private Agency
  • Michelle Van Dyke, Private Funding
  • Savator Selden-Johnson, Kent County Department of Health and Human Services Director - Children's Services
  • GRPS Superintendent
  • Julie Ridenour, Private Funding
  • Scott Smith, KISD Superintendent At-Large
  • Maureen Kirkwood, Private Funding
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 27 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

  • Thomas Noreen - Region 1
  • Andrew Erlewein - Region 2
  • Sarah Weller - Region 3
  • Caitlin Oliver - Region 4
  • Charles Myers - Region 5
  • Shirley Bruursema - Region 6
  • Allie Idema - Region 7
  • Sheri Gilreath-Watts - Region 8
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 nonprofit hospitals and nonprofit health care providers with the ability to finance, refinance, and refund indebtedness related to hospital facilities, all in accordance with the Michigan Hospital Finance Authority Act, being MCL 331.31 et seq. The Authority meets annually and at such additional times as required by any such hospital or health care provider. Meetings are held at the offices of Rhoades McKee, 55 Campau Avenue NW, Suite 300, Grand Rapids, Michigan  49503, which meetings are open to the public. There are eight citizen members of the Authority, four of whom are appointed by the City of Grand Rapids and four of whom are appointed by the County of Kent.

  • James Saalfeld, Commissioner
  • Richard Fabiano
  • Hattie Patterson
  • Robert White
Back to top

Lakeshore Regional Partners Substance Abuse Oversight Policy Board

The Lakeshore Regional Partners Substance Abuse Oversight Policy Board shall provide advice and consultation to the Board of Directors of the Lakeshore Regional Entity in order that it may carry out its responsibilities as outlined in the Mental Health Code, assuring the development and maintenance of a comprehensive regional network of effective substance abuse prevention and substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services. The advice and consultation shall concentrate on matters relating the planning, funding, and implementation of the comprehensive regional network. The Oversight Policy Board shall meet four times per year, but not less than two times per year.

  • Tom Antor – Commissioner
  • Stan Ponstein - Commissioner
  • Sarah Sobel
  • Molly Reid
  • Bryan McKissack
  • Patrick Sweeney
  • Shellie Cole-Mickens
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. The Board meets on an as needed basis in the Kent County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.

  • Diane Jones, Commissioner
  • Mandy Bolter - Board Chair
  • Stan Stek - Commissioner
  • Kim DeStigter - Design Community
  • David Custer - Business Community
  • Peter Secchia - Business Community
  • Jacqueline Willis - Business Community
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). The statute authorizes the Commission to meet every even year to determine the compensation for the following two calendar years. There are seven citizen members on the Commission.

  • Jon Nunn
  • Amy Freeburg
  • Joe Gavan
  • Michelle McCloud
  • Charles Bassett
  • Tom TerMaat
  • Carl Ver Beek
Back to top

Pension Board

The Pension Board is charged with fiduciary responsibility for the assets of the Kent County Employees’ Retirement System including but not limited to the hiring and monitoring of professionals such as investment managers, attorneys, consultants and accountants.   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 of February, May, August and November in the Learning and Development Center on the 2nd Floor of the County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Avenue NW.

  • Stan Ponstein - Commissioner
  • VACANT - Commissioner
  • Kevin Bramble - Employee Member
  • Adam Waskelis – Employee Member
  • James Laramy
  • William Walker
  • Matt Woolford – Employee Member
Back to top

Remonumentation Peer Review Group

The Remonumentation Peer Review Group members review corners present before the County accepts them for filing. Peer Review Group members will also be called upon to update the County's Remonumentation Plan as required by the amended Public Act 345 of 1990. Members must be Professional Surveyors. The Peer Review Group meets on an as-needed basis.

  • Bill Byl
  • Art Brintnall
  • Jack Bueche
  • Dan Pratt
  • Dan Elzinga
  • Cindy Koster
  • Randy Jonker
  • Jim Leitch
  • Paul Schutter
  • Ken Vierzen

Back to top

Road Commission Board

The Board of the County Road Commissioners is a five person board responsible for, along with the Managing Director, overseeing the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of the 1,958 mile network of County primary and local roads which includes 172 bridges.  In addition, the Kent County Road Commission maintains 1,139 lane miles of interstate freeways and State highways under contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation.  The Board meets twice a month beginning in January at the Kent County Road Commission Offices, 1500 Scribner NW. Visit for specific dates and times.

  • Dave Medema
  • Rob VerHeulen
  • Mark Rambo
  • David Morren
  • Cynthia Janes
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, and three representatives from the general public who reside within the County. The Committee meets as needed.

Back to top

Veterans Services Committee

The Veterans Services Committee will ensure that County-funded veterans assistance is provided appropriately and equitably. This committee is comprised of seven honorably discharged veterans who served active duty in the United States Armed Forces. At least one member must represent a congressionally chartered veterans organization and be recommended by the posts of each chartered organization with the County. Each member will be appointed to a four-year term. Committee meetings are held once a month in the Veterans Services Office, 836 Fuller Avenue NE. For additional information visit the Veterans Services page.

  • Melvin Bauman
  • John Baxter
  • Mary Johnson
  • Harold Mast
  • Trisha Sexton
  • Shane Scherer
  • Randy Tharp