Ottawa County Administrator's Digest

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Alan G. Vanderberg, County Administrator
May 10, 2016

state of the county
Enjoy the 2016 State of Ottawa County, view the video by clicking above or follow the link to read the written version.

Planning & Performance Improvement Department Leadership Change


Mark Knudsen notified us in late March that he was retiring effective April 29. Though we certainly would have loved to hold a reception for him after a Board of Commissioners meeting and invited local unit officials and other board and commission and community members that he worked with over the years, we honored his wishes to not do so.

Earlier this week Paul Sachs was promoted to the position of Director of the Planning & Performance Improvement Department. Paul served as assistant director of the department for 14 years and has done an outstanding job.  Join me in congratulating Paul and we certainly look forward to working with him in this new capacity.

West Michigan Issues & Impact

Shannon Felgner and I hosted Bill Capogadli, co-author of The Disney Way on West Michigan Issues & Impact last week, which is produced in the Muskegon Community College studio.  It was a wide ranging interview which we think folks will be interested to see. Click here to view the show on YouTube.

iss imp

3rd Annual Innovation & Technology Forum

The Innovation & Technology Forum was likely our best to date, both in terms of the program and attendance. We had over 120 registered for the event and at one time had over 100 in the room. This is significant because speakers, vendors and participants tend to arrive and leave at different times during the day.

There were many excellent presentations, both educational and from vendors. Noted author, speaker and professor Kevin Desouza provided the key note address Realizing the Promise of (Open, Mobile, and Big) Data and Technologies for Local Governments.This fascinating presentation covered potential benefits and challenges of use of Big Data.  Jason Kehrer of New North gave a great presentation entitled The Half-Life Assumptions:  Bringing Empathy to Big Data. We include innovation presentations at the Innovation and Technology Forum to emphasize that technology is an enabler and that thought processes have to occur before engaging technology to get the best results.   

The day was anchored by Oakland County Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini, back by popular demand who gave a presentation entitled The Future of Technology: “Are We Simply Rebranding Stuff?”  Phil covered industry trends and some of the innovative work that Oakland County is doing. 

I will include a notification in the Digest when all presentations are available on

EPIC-MRA Conducting Biennial Citizen Survey (Keith Van Beek)

Ottawa County has contracted with EPIC-MRA to continue with an every other year citizen survey.  Caller ID’s should identify “EPIC-MRA”, and interviewers will identify themselves as calling from that firm.  Calls will begin on Monday, May 9, and should conclude no later than Saturday, May 14.  Phoning on the weekdays occurs between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM, excluding Friday evening, and on Saturday, if needed, from 10 AM until 8 PM.  The firm does utilize traditional landline and cell phone numbers.  We look forward to receiving the results later in May or early June.

PA 269

The Federal District Court signed and issued a consent judgment on April 28 permanently enjoining the Secretary of State from enforcing subsection 57(3) of PA 269/SB 571.

This is a major win for counties, cities, townships, villages and schools across the state.  The consent order does not preclude a future amendment to Michigan’s Campaign Finance Act (i.e. Rep. Lyon’s HB 5219).

This legislation was tagged the “gag order” law and prevented local government officials from discussing ballot proposals from their jurisdiction for a period of time of 60 days prior to the election.  Local government elected and appointed officials believed this to be an attack on their 1st Amendment rights to Free Speech and a major blockage to communicate those who elected their representative bodies from communicating why they would put a proposal on the ballot.

Supreme Court Visit

sup court

It was a tremendous honor to have the Supreme Court hold a session in Ottawa County at the Jenison Fine Arts Center.  The Supreme Court held a real session and took actual oral argument in a rare “certified question” from the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The question involved technology – Pandora specifically. The case was viewed by over 1,000 students from throughout the County. 

Kudos to our Circuit, Probate and District Courts for hosting such an impactful and fun event.

sup court

Ottawa County Forms ALPACT (Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust) (Undersheriff Kempker)


Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community trust (ALPACT) is comprised of leaders and members of the community in Ottawa County, civil rights and civil liberties organizations, and law enforcement leaders from Ottawa County.  The members meet regularly to look at and examine issues affecting police and community relations. ALPACT members work together to explore strategies to increase opportunities for community partnering and to build a stronger foundation for higher levels of community trust of law enforcement.  ALPACT as an important tool can enhance efforts to produce a more trusting and positive community and law enforcement relationship in communities in Ottawa County.

The original ALPACT initiative was established in 1998 in Detroit, Michigan.  This ALPACT was formed by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion and included four police chiefs and four prominent leaders who came together to discuss issues and community relations.

The mission of ALPACT will be accomplished by:

  • Working with law enforcement, community and civil rights groups through meetings and forums to identify and address issues affecting police and community relations.
  • Educating communities on the scope of the identified issues and the strategies needed to address these issues affecting police and community relations.
  • Promoting training of local law enforcement officers on identified issues affecting police and community relations.

Sheriff Gary Rosema stated, “As a county-wide ALPACT initiative, we took an opportunity to look at other ALPACT initiatives around the state and what they stood for and how they operated.  It was obvious that ALPACT is about community and how you develop and sustain law enforcement and community relationship while understanding both the needs of the community and the role of law enforcement. A clear understanding how the “system” impacts individual and communities is critical to our success.”

APLACT in Ottawa County is a county-wide effort.  ALPACT has brought together individuals, law enforcement, prosecutors, organizations, and disciplines from various communities to have open discussions related to law enforcement, the criminal justice system, community based programs and the community itself.  The ALPACT group meets bi-monthly at the Ottawa County Fillmore Complex.  The ALPACT co-chaired by Undersheriff Steve Kempker and Mr. Jose Gomez of Coopersville.


The County hosted representatives from the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) Region lll: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Representatives from the County Commissions meet periodically each year to learn about successful service delivery in other counties.  Dean Kapenga, Allegan County Commissioner is leading the group this year and Denny Van Dam, Ottawa County Commissioner is our representative to the group. Presentations were given by the following: Sheriff Rosema (partnerships), Treasurer Slagh (Dog Licensing & Top Dog Photo Contest), Lynne Doyle (mental health millage) and Misty Cunningham, Captain John Wolffis and Al Vanderberg (customer service).

Arbor Day – Landscape Improvements at Ottawa County Courthouse

arb day

It may have been rainy and cold, but we celebrated Arbor Day a day early in Grand Haven by planting five trees and other small bushes to improve the landscaping at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven. The pictures show County Commissioner Roger Bergman welcoming neighbors and doing a ceremonial planting.  The improvements replace some trees that had died, and other landscaping that needed some attention, bordering the parking lot and neighborhood along Clinton Street.

arb day


food safety

Congratulations Award Recipients

Public Health Logo

Spencer Ballard
OCDPH Environmental Health Team Supervisor
Decade Award for Leadership in Innovation

Spencer received this award for his leadership and creativity in implementing the new Environmental Health Decade Software. Throughout the process he and the environmental health team worked on innovative solutions and new ways of using the system that will lead to quality improvements for our department.

Dale Zahn
CEO of the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors
Michigan Environmental Health Association’s
Distinguished Service Award Non-Member
Dale has been designated by MEHA to receive a special award in recognition of his contributions to environmental health and/or MEHA.

Jessica Voglewede,
OCDPH Environmental Health Specialist
Michigan Environmental Health Association’s
David H. McMullen Young Professional of the Year Award
Jessica has been designated by MEHA to receive this special award in recognition of her outstanding accomplishment(s) to the environmental health profession within the first five years of her employment.


Janine Chittenden
OCDPH Community Health Team Supervisor
2015 Nurse Administration Forum Leadership Award

Janine (on the left) has been an active member of the Nurse Administrators Forum for many years, and has provided leadership on a number of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Association of Local Public Health  committees that have led to improvements in public health practice at the state and local level.

March 2016 Ottawa County Central Dispatch Measures (Tim Smith)

The call volume and incident numbers handled through Ottawa County Central Dispatch for March 2016 were:

Total Incidents – 9,225 up 4.6% over March 2015 and down 1% YTD over 2015 

Fire Incidents – 1,276 up 7% over March 2015 and up 3.8% YTD over 2015 

Law Incidents – 7,949 up 4.2% over March 2015 and down 1.8% YTD over 2015 

911 Calls – 7,684 up 2.4% over March 2015 and down 6.4% YTD over 2015  

911 Hang Up calls - 832 even with March 2015 and down 8.9% YTD over 2015 

Wireless 911 calls – 89.2% of 911 calls for March 2016 and 91.2% of Total 911 calls for 2015

911 calls answered in 10 seconds or less - 93.7% for March 2016 and 94% YTD for 2016 

(NENA recommended standard is 90% within 10 seconds)


Click here for the most recent update, for older updates click here