County Administrator/Controller (CEO)
Kent County, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Board of Commissioners
Kent County, Michigan Overview
Located between Chicago and Detroit, Kent County is the fourth largest county in Michigan with a growing community of approximately 662,000 diverse residents. Kent County is West Michigan's economic and manufacturing center. The county seat is in Grand Rapids. Kent County is the home of the Frederik Meijer Gardens, a significant cultural landmark of the Midwest. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the county's primary location for regional and international airline traffic.
At its core is the thriving and vibrant city of Grand Rapids, the second largest city in the state. With a strong business climate and exceptionally high quality of life, it is no surprise businesses and talent are flocking to the region. For over 20 years, Kent County has obtained a Triple-A credit rating from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service ranking the county among the top 3 percent of counties nationwide.
As the hub of the West Michigan region, Kent County is home to more than 130 international companies, as well as four of Forbes Largest Private Companies. The county is home to the global headquarters of industry leaders like Amway, Steelcase, BISSELL, Wolverine Worldwide, and more.
Kent County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state as realized by the county’s population increasing by 3.9% since 2015, growing by 25,031. Kent County, part of the Grand Rapids – Kentwood Metropolitan Statistical Area, is expected to increase in population by 2.7% between 2020 and 2025.
From 2015 to 2020, jobs increased by 10.4% in Kent County, from 401,016 to 442,822. This change outpaced the national growth rate of 6.2% by 4.2%.
22.5% of Kent County residents possess a bachelor's degree (3.4% above the national average), and 8.9% hold an associate degree (0.7% above the national average).
There is an energy pulsating from West Michigan that is felt throughout the Midwest. Business and community leaders have set in motion an unprecedented level of growth and investment, cementing Kent County’s place as a world-class center for advanced manufacturing, life science and medical devices, food processing, and technology.
Kent County’s Mission:
“Through responsible budgeting and thoughtful planning, Kent County government is committed to providing resources and services that promote a high quality of life for the entire community.”
The County Administrator/Controller acts as the Chief Executive Officer for Kent County, leading and managing the county. The Administrator is responsible for setting the county’s operating budget, establishing the strategy and vision, and then driving the execution. The Administrator will oversee 1,777 employees; 25 departments and elected offices with 2021 revenues estimated at over $485,000,000. Under the direction of the Board of Commissioners, the County Administrator provides operational leadership for the County to ensure the successful achievement of the Board’s strategic priorities. The Administrator is a catalyst for promoting Kent County to drive business attraction and retention in the region as well as future economic development. The County Administrator will be a dynamic, action-oriented leader who partners with key stakeholders to drive sustainable growth while continuing to establish Kent County as a top tier place to live and work with national recognition and renown.
• Manage the development and implementation of long- and short-range plans for the County and programs required to reach those goals and objectives to attain the mission of County government.
• Build, lead, and manage a balanced, efficient, and effective senior executive team for the County.
• Lead and manage the professional and administrative staff to accomplish the County’s goals with a focus on continually developing a team that will perform at the highest potential. Manage in accordance with established County policies and procedures and with all applicable statutes and regulations governing the employment relationship.
• Empower staff to help reach exceptional performance and promote and foster a culture of collaboration. Encourage team building, innovation, and diversity. Hire, terminate, train, evaluate, manage, and review staff. Identify policies and procedures, goals and objectives for subordinate staff and provide staff access to training and development opportunities to facilitate professional and personal growth.
• Develop new and exciting program initiatives to provide for the expansion of County services for sustainable economic and population growth and to equitably serve the County’s residents.
• Model and set the County’s culture and values.
• Implement initiatives to significantly raise awareness of Kent County and create strong project flow.
• Be a convenor and take the lead on convening stakeholders to promote action and develop effective public private partnerships on a variety of issues and initiatives.
• Direct the research, analysis and evaluation of issues, proposed actions, legislation, and other items on behalf of the Board of Commissioners. Review and analyse the potential impact of pending legislation, proposed amendments to existing statutes, etc. on County operations and recommend appropriate actions to the Board of Commissioners. Provide the County’s parameters for contract negotiations and establish goals for labor relations.
Financial / Budget / Controller
• Direct the development of the operating and capital budgets for the County’s general and enterprise funds. Provide oversight of the County’s administrative and fiscal activities to ensure the integrity of available resources. Monitor the operating performance of departments to ensure efficient and effective use of budgeted resources and demonstrable progress towards accomplishment of targeted goals.
• Recommend a budget that appropriately allocates capital toward the Board’s strategic priorities.
• Forward the County’s interests by successfully maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with Kent County elected officials, state and local officials, foundations, community organizations, business groups, and other key stakeholders to the County’s success.
• Represent the County while serving on various boards, advisory groups, and work groups. Also represent the interests of the County to the State legislature and serve as an advocate for local government.
• Participate in intergovernmental initiatives within the County and West Michigan.
• Serve as a spokesperson and voice for the County and play a leading role in promoting the County and in opportunities to collaborate.
Represent the county and engage with the following groups:
• Elected officials, Commissioners, department directors, managers, and other administrators throughout the County to provide direction, advice and assistance; exchange information and participate in the development of policies, programs and projects.
• Local jurisdictions throughout Kent County to participate in, and/or represent the County to, intergovernmental agencies and groups, including, but not limited to, economic development agencies.
• State agencies and legislators to serve as an advocate for County interests.
• Local and state media to represent the County and/or the Office of the Administrator.
• City and township governments in the Greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area to develop mutually beneficial programs, policies, or projects to resolve issues of joint concern.
• Governing boards of County agencies to collaborate in the identification of agency goals and objectives and development of programs and policies required to attain those objectives.
• External legal counsel to obtain advice and to participate in the development and presentation of the County’s case in legal proceedings.
• Community organizations and civic groups to provide information and education on County projects and programs and respond to complaints and concerns.
• Other Counties within the state of Michigan and in other states to further the collective interests of County governments.
• Business representatives and economic development groups to collaborate in programs and projects to promote the economic growth and development of Kent County and West Michigan.
• Professional organizations to participate in continuing education and maintain current knowledge of professional practice.
Note: not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties
Professional Knowledge / Experience / Qualifications
A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in public administration or executive level experience in an organization of similar complexity with a demonstrated record of accomplishment. The collaborative leader will be creative and innovative. S/he will be a strong manager and communicator with the ability to influence, persuade and inspire staff, community leaders, and other stakeholders. The successful candidate should have an exceptional track record of cultivating and crafting relationships and partnerships in business or with a public sector organization.
Previous experience and qualifications ideally include:
• Excellent communications skills including written, verbal, and listening skills as well as collaboration and partnership skills.
• Demonstrated knowledge and experience implementing economic and community development.
• Experience collaborating across a complex multi-stakeholder dispersed geographic footprint is preferred.
• Positive attitude and enthusiasm
• Executive level leadership
• Strong financial acumen
• Budget development and control
• Media relations
• Strategic planning
• Influencing and negotiating
• Change management
• Political savvy
• Impeccable character
• Cultural intelligence
Year One Critical Success Factors
• Establish strong working relationships with the Commissioners, staff, and all other key stakeholders within the County.
• Execute a seamless leadership transition.
• Work closely with Commissioners and key stakeholders to develop sustainable long-term strategic plan and vision for Kent County.
• Develop credibility within the community as evidenced by strong regional relationships – through partnerships, thoughtful convening, and community development activities.
• Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in Public Administration, Business Administration, or a related field
• Master’s degree strongly preferred
Korn Ferry Contact
For more information, contact Korn Ferry: firstname.lastname@example.org