HIGHLIGHTS + OTTAWA COUNTY
Meeting highlights—The 2024 Organizational Meeting of the Board of Commissioners
Published January 3, 2024
Written by Adams
Photography by Simply American
The Board of Commissioners unanimously voted for Commissioner Joe Moss as Chair and Commissioner Sylvia Rhodea as Vice-Chair for 2024.
Ottawa County Board of Commissioners
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
On Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at the annual Organizational Meeting, the Board voted on Board Rules for the year, updating language for clarity and creating rules for the Board of Commission to follow. The Board also voted on adding rules where the County had none previously. If any portion of these rules conflict with the State of Michigan statutes, the statutes prevail.
Most notable changes for 2024:
• The addition of Rule 4.7 Invocation Policy. Chairman Joe Moss spoke about the need for the new policy: “The Board has never had one [an invocation policy], the County has never had one. So adding clarity for how to handle it.”
• The addition of a Strategic Planning Committee. “Strategic Planning,” Moss said, “I’m sure we will have a good, healthy focus this year.”
• The addition of a Broadband Committee. “Broadband will be kind of an ongoing, more long-term need for the Board to keep eyes on and hands on,” Moss said. “Adding that to provide that for staff as they are working through broadband decisions, and likely there will be a need for that for probably the next two years or so.”
Like all other committees, the two new committees will be advisory in nature.
Standing Committees Back To Historic Level
According to Board Rules, “The Chairperson of the Board shall select the Chair of each Standing Committee and shall appoint Members of the Board to serve on each Standing Committee.” This has been the procedure for many years in Ottawa County.
Motion on how to appoint members:
• Commissioner Doug Zylstra made a motion to change Rule 2.3. Instead of having the Chair “appoint” he wanted to change the word to “nominate,” and then add “subject to approval of the Board.”
• Commissioner Gretchen Cosby asked, “Past practices [for appointing members]? Not just last year’s, but previous Boards’?”
• Zylstra answered that 2023 was a different year, but one of the positives was the introduction of an evening meeting and committee assignments being open to all members.
• With Zylstra failing to answer Cosby’s question, Moss replied, “The way the rules were presented, are the way they historically have been.”
• Moss said: “One of the main reasons I asked all the new commissioners, and all of the commissioners to be on more committees than usual so they could learn the county government. They could see all the different areas and get up to speed, having mostly new members on the Board. I guess I should say that I’m really thankful that everybody put in all the extra work to do that… That is not necessarily what has to happen this year. Everyone has done a really good job of learning county government, and I hope our committees can be a little simpler this coming year.”
• The motion for the Chair to “nominate” rather than “appoint” new members failed 8–3, with Zylstra, Commissioner Jacob Bonnema, and Commissioner Roger Bergman voting together
• Standing Committees will go back to having five members, as they have previously
• Bonnema made a motion to be put back on the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council. The motion failed 6–5.
• Zylstra made a motion to take Rhodea off from the Ottawa County Insurance Authority and put Bonnema on. The motion failed 8–3, with Bergman, Bonnema, and Zylstra voting yay.
In a meeting that lasted just over an hour and a half, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners created a new Invocation rule and two new committees, and brought committees back to seating five members—as they have historically.