Economic Development, Government, and Human Resources

Donovan, Wood earn statewide honors

April 24, 2013
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East Grand Rapids City Manager Brian Donovan and Grand Rapids Economic Development Director Kara Wood were recently honored by the Michigan Municipal League at its annual Capital Conference held in Lansing.

The MML gave Donovan and Wood its prestigious Outstanding Service Award at the conference.

Northville City Manager Pat Sullivan and Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino also were presented the award.

The honor recognizes public officials that the MML feels have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the league’s legislative efforts in Lansing on behalf of Michigan communities.

The MML said Donovan has been instrumental in working on legislation that gives cities additional pension flexibility. He also worked with the MML on another package of bills that let cities make more cost-efficient pension decisions.

As a result of that legislation, the governor signed a bill that allows cities with an AA bond rating to go to the bond market for revenue to cover the cost of switching from a defined benefit, or pension, plan to a defined contribution plan, like a 401(k).

“Donovan has been instrumental in working on this legislation, and the league is grateful for his invaluable counsel,” said the MML.

Donovan also represents East Grand Rapids on the Grand Valley Metro Council and chairs its LGROW committee, which oversees the lower portion of the Grand River.

As for Wood, the MML said she has been a “major voice” on its Land Use and Economic Development Committee. The league added that her knowledge and insight into economic development has made her a strong advocate for not only the revitalization of Grand Rapids but also for Michigan as a whole.

Wood most recently worked on legislation that made changes to the state’s key brownfield incentive for urban development and that program was passed into law last year.

“Wood’s assistance at the committee level and at an advocacy level is invaluable,” said the MML.

Wood also serves as the executive director of the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and its Economic Development Corp.

The MML advocates on the behalf of the state’s cities and villages in Lansing.

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