Pictured Below: Jolene Fleese, Adele Hansen, Pat Gardner, Joseph Fox
Board Honors Hansen, Kolk; Hears Concern From Employee
By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners recognized Adele Hansen who was recently selected by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Aging and Adult Services Agency to receive the honor of being chosen Michigan Senior Citizen of the Year for 2016.
The Board resolution, passed unanimously and with numerous complimentary comments being directed to Ms. Hansen, cited her decades-long involvement in volunteer work particularly noting her 20 years serving on the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan and Newaygo County Community Mental Health boards as well as 15 years as...
and husband of 50 years. At age 87 she still dedicates 15 hours a week to volunteering,” read the resolution.
Ms. Hansen graciously accepted the recognition being read by Commission Chair Patrick Gardner then spoke of having received a monetary gift from Consumers Energy for being selected.
“I just couldn’t see keeping this so I have given it to out Director to put into helping with some of the many needs we have at the COA,” she stated, before finding herself on the receiving end of many hugs and congratulations from the well wishers on hand.
The Board also honored Deputy Brian Kolk who is retiring after serving the Newaygo County community for 32 years as a member of the Sheriff’s Department.
The resolution spoke to the many roles assumed by Deputy Kolk including Corrections Officer, Road Patrol Sergeant, Dive Team and Emergency Response team member and hostage negotiator.
“During his years of service Deputy Brian Kolk’s job performance, professionalism, and dedication have earned him numerous letters of recognition and appreciation from his peers, his command officers, and the public,” read Commissioner Gardner in presenting the award.
During the public comment time commissioners heard from Danielle Hummel an employee of the Friend of the Court office and member of the Employee Representative Committee. Ms. Hummel expressed concern over the process for reclassification of employees and questioned why the guidelines for this process put in place by the board in a motion passed this past February were not followed.
“My concern is that efforts to reduce the problems in this process are actually making it more confusing and more likely for employees to question it,” stated Hummel. “What is the process for ensuring that the new policy is initiated and followed through with and who will monitor this so it does not happen again?”
The procedure for public comment has no avenue for dialogue during the meeting. Commissioner Gardner and Administrator Chris Wren both spoke to Hummel following the meeting.
In other business the Board approved a trio of requests from Sheriff Pat Hedlund to submit grants for 7 new tasers and taser recertification training for officers and another for bulletproof vests. Sheriff Hedlund received praise from commissioners for seeking out the grants as a way to save county money while keeping enforcement equipment up to date.
The next commission meeting will be held on Wednesday June 8th at 9:30am. Minutes and videos of Board of Commissioners, Finance Committee and other meetings can be found in the County Clerk section of the County website.