Government and Health Care

Kent officials planning positions for $1.4M

County board to vote on positions that start Oct. 1.

September 13, 2019
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Kent County officials are planning to add multiple positions that will cost a total of $1.4 million.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners soon will vote to approve several positions that will begin Oct. 1.

The positions include an indigent defense administrator/attorney for $156,161; an account clerk at the friend of the court for $62,014; director of population health consortium for $126,851; conversion of a part-time animal shelter technician to full-time for $29,188; and an emergency management coordinator for $141,592.

The Kent County Population Health Consortium is a collaboration between Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to produce the community health needs assessment in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The assessment is used to identify priorities for the community, including mental health, substance use disorder and obesity.

Part of the funding for the account clerk and emergency management coordinator, and all of the funding for the population health consortium director and animal shelter technician, will come from the county.

Adam London, health department administrative officer, said he has been working with the partners to develop a response to the priorities. A new director would take over the responsibilities.

The board of commissioners is scheduled to vote later this year on approval of other positions that will begin Jan. 1. 

The positions include a part-time agriculture preservation specialist for $45,846; a county communications specialist for $74,269; a docket clerk, account clerk and senior administrative specialist in the county clerk's office for $200,725; a transfer station operator in the department of public works for $68,240; a community resource specialist at Kent County Community Action for $77,602; and five patrol deputies for $427,823.

The community resource specialist for Kent County Community Action is being created to enhance operations of the Housing Choice Voucher program, the county said.

Susan Cervantes, Kent County Community Action director, said staff regularly reports being overwhelmed with their daily workload.

With the new position, the county would be able to process 529 vouchers per month and increase monthly revenue by $1,262. Currently, the average voucher use is 504 vouchers per month.

Ensuring better service delivery would result in providing affordable permanent housing to about 25 additional families in Kent County, many who are homeless veterans or families at risk of losing custody of their children due to homelessness, Cervantes said.

“Further, when our citizens experience housing security, they are more able to experience economic prosperity for themselves, are more able to contribute meaningfully to the broader community and depend less on other community assistance programs,” Cervantes said.

All of the funding will come from the county for the agriculture preservation specialist, communications specialist, clerk staff, transfer station operator and patrol officers.

Federal grants will fully fund the community action director position.

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