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 & 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) 336-3265.

  • Robert Womack - Commissioner
  • Steven Versluis
  • Russell Slater II
  • Dennis Heffron
  • Suzie Reinbold
  • Edward Robinette
  • Michelle Van Houten
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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 www.aaawm.org. There is no meeting in January or May.

  • Harold Mast - Commissioner
  • Frederick Deane
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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan - 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 location and specific dates visit www.aaawm.org.

  • Carol Hennessy - Commissioner
  • Nancy Nielsen
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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.

  • Frederic Overeem
  • Jane Uyl
  • Marie Gowell
  • Esther Turner
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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.

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

  • Wayman Britt
  • Emily Bridson
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Community Action Agency Advisory Governing Board

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

  • Catherine Aldridge
  • Tom Oosterbaan
  • Kendrick Heinlein
  • Hattie Patterson
  • Reyna Quintino
  • Christina Swiney
  • Tracie Coffman
  • Benjamin Escalante
  • Judy Knapp
  • Wende Randall
  • Jessica White-Hatinger
  • Latoya Black
  • James Geisen
  • Ruth Kelly
  • LaTarro Traylor
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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, 1809 Ottawa Avenue NW (meeting day subject to change). There are two citizen members.

  • Jim Talen - Commissioner
  • Judge Jeanine LaVille
  • Klinton Thorne
  • Prosecutor Chris Becker
  • Judge Patricia Gardner
  • Kristen Gietzen
  • Judge Donald Johnston
  • David Oesch
  • Scott Noto
  • Police Chief Daniel Steere
  • LTC Shawn Harris
  • Christine Tober
  • Chris Mills
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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 four times per year.

  • Emily Brieve - Commissioner
  • Betsy Melton - Commissioner
  • Steve Alsum
  • Mitogo Opira
  • Ron Koehler
  • Paul Haan
  • Dr. Lori Pearl-Kraus
  • Savator Selden-Johnson
  • Dr. Mark Swan
  • Andy Johnston
  • VACANT
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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.  There are nine citizen members.

  • Emily Brieve - Commissioner
  • Harold Mast - Commissioner
  • Jim Talen - Commissioner
  • Stan Stek - Commissioner
  • John Matias
  • Caroline Dellenbusch
  • Thomas Dooley
  • Nelson Grit
  • Helen Michelle Cole-Mickens
  • Larry Oberst
  • Clyde Sims Jr.
  • Charles Brown
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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
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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.

  • Carla Chase Sikkema
  • Jerry Kooiman
  • Bruce McCoy
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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 the selected location.

  • Tom Antor - Commissioner
  • Roger Morgan - Commissioner
  • Benjamin Greene
  • Jacqueline Smith
  • Carlton Blough
  • Jennifer Christian Venema
  • Patrick Malone
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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.

  • Mary Swanson
  • Paul Howland
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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. 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. More information can be found at Friend of the Court.

  • Felicia Clay
  • Dave Bulkowski - Commissioner
  • Undersheriff Michelle Young
  • Candace Chivis
  • Kyle Quinn
  • Amy Wright
  • Tony Jolliffi
  • Mark Vermeer
  • Enid Gaddis

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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. There are four citizen members. Three shall be Kent County residents, and 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, Commissioner
  • Steve Heacock
  • Birgit Klohs
  • Floyd Wilson Jr.
  • David Slikkers

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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
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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.

  • Carol Hennessy - Commissioner
  • Diane Jones – Commissioner
  • Wayman Britt
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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 citizen members, listed here alphabetically:

  • Jason Grinnell
  • Tony Jolliffi
  • Joshua Lunger
  • Courtney Panter
  • Kristen Ward
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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 www.accesskent.com.

  • Kenyatta Brame
  • Arlen-Dean Gaddy
  • Patricia Bravender
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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.

  • VACANT, Private Funding Representative
  • Candace Cowling, Child & Family Resource Council
  • Jackie O’Conner, Area Agency on Aging
  • Jacob Maas, Area Community Svcs & Employment Training
  • Lynnette Ferrell, Frey Foundation
  • Chris Becker, Kent County Prosecutor
  • Judge Patricia Gardner, 17th Circuit Court Family Division
  • Jack Greenfield, Private Agency, Arbor Circle
  • Cynthia Gladyness, Advocate/Consumer
  • Lynn Heemstra, Consumer/Advocate
  • Scott Gilman, network180
  • Ron Caniff, Kent Intermediate School District
  • Jim Paparella, DA Blodgett
  • Tracey Fountain, Kent County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Adam London, Kent County Health Department
  • Diana Sieger, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • George Meek, Business Representative
  • Melanie Beelen, Advocate / Consumer
  • Patti Warmington, Life Guidance Services
  • Michelle Van Dyke, Heart of West Michigan United Way
  • Savator Selden-Johnson, Kent County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Teresa Neal, GRPS Superintendent
  • Julie Ridenour, Steelcase Foundation
  • Michael Zoerhoff, KISD Superintendent At-Large
  • Yazeed Moore, WK Kellogg Foundation
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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 www.kdl.org.

  • Shirley Bruursema
  • G. Craig Wilson
  • Lee Cook
  • Thomas Noreen
  • VACANT
  • Sarah Weller
  • Andrew Erlewein
  • Sherrie Willson
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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
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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.

  • Harold Mast - Commissioner
  • Betsy Melton - Commissioner
  • Stan Stek - Commissioner
  • Carolyn Avery
  • Bryan McKissack
  • Patrick Sweeney
  • Shellie Cole-Mickens
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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.

  • Ken Parrish - County Treasurer
  • Stan Ponstein - Commissioner
  • Rosalyn Bliss
  • Steve Maas
  • Tim Haagsma
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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
  • Jim Saalfeld - Commissioner
  • Stan Stek - Commissioner
  • Kim DeStigter - Design Community
  • David Custer - Business Community
  • Peter Secchia - Business Community
  • Jacqueline Willis - Business Community
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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
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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
  • Jim Saalfeld - Commissioner
  • Kevin Bramble - Employee Member
  • Melanie Grooters - Employee Member
  • David Reglin
  • William Walker
  • Adam Waskelis - Employee Member
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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
  • Tom Chettleburgh
  • Dan Elzinga
  • Harvey Hubers
  • Randy Jonker
  • Jim Leitch
  • Paul Schutter
  • Ken Vierzen

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Road Commission Board

The Board of the County Road Commissioners is a five person board (all citizens) which is responsible, along with the Managing Director, for 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 www.kentcountyroads.net for specific dates and times.

  • Dave Medema
  • Patrick Malone
  • Mark Rambo
  • David Morren
  • Cynthia Janes
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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 to fulfill duties and responsibilities.

  • Dave Bulkowski – Commissioner
  • Russ Boersma
  • Nick Carlson
  • Scott Downer
  • Tim Lucas
  • Terrance Hartman
  • Shana Shroll
  • James Hurt
  • Tom Mahoney
  • Kelly Mitchell
  • William Wood
  • John Van Tholen
  • Phil Yeiter
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Veteran's Affairs Committee

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee appoints a veterans services office manager to staff the Veterans Services 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 or who received an armed forces campaign or service medal, is appointed by the County Board of Commissioners for four-year terms. This Committee meets once a month in the Veterans Services Office, 836 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. See Veterans Services for more information, or call (616) 632-5722.

  • Harold Mast - Commissioner
  • Fred Chambers
  • Mary Johnson
  • Paul Potter
  • Melvin Bauman
  • hane Scherer
  • Randy Tharp

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.