Kent County Commission elects new chair

Jim Saalfeld talks with 24 Hour News 8 after being appointed the new chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. (Jan. 5, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Board of Commissioners appointed a new chairperson at Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint District 11 Commissioner Jim Saalfeld as Chair of the Board. He replaces Commissioner Dan Koorndyk who held the chair role from Jan. 2013 through Dec. 2015.

Saalfeld has been on the Kent County Board of Commissioners for six years where he held various roles including vice-chair. He also is a business leader and attorney currently employed as in-house counsel for BISSELL Homecare in Walker.

Saalfeld said he thinks the biggest challenge for the county moving forward is funding.

“When I spoke to the commission right after I was elected today I said one of the things the county needs to continue to do is focus on collaboration and cooperation with our partners, that’s critical in this day and age — our cities, our townships, our business community, our philanthropic organizations,” said Saalfield.

The Board selected District 19 Commissioner Shana Shroll as Board Vice-Chair.

Commissioner Dick Vander Molen of District 13 announced that this will be his last term. He has been on the Board since 1987.

“When I first came on (the Board) I was one of the youngest people here,” Vander Molen laughed. “I’ve seen lots of changes. It’s been a great experience.”

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