KENT COUNTY, MI – Kent County has a new second in command.

Jennifer Kimball James of Maryland has been chosen as the new deputy county administrator after a months-long search, Kent County officials said on Thursday (October 15).

The new position was created following a restructuring of the county management team. James begins Monday, October 19.

“Jennifer’s passion for public service and over two decades of experience in local government – including 16 years in leadership roles – sets her apart from an excellent field of candidates,” said the county administrator. of Kent, Wayman Britt, in a statement. “We are confident that his background, skills and enthusiasm to serve his community will help us advance the county’s mission and execute our strategic plan.”

Prior to his selection, James was deputy city manager of Rockville, Maryland, a Washington DC suburb with a population of approximately 68,000 people. Previously, she was Deputy City Manager.

Prior to his work in the city, James held research and analyst positions in the Montgomery County Legislative Oversight Office in Maryland. She holds a master’s degree in public management from the University of Maryland at College Park.

James, as Deputy County Administrator, will assist the County Administrator in planning, directing and executing operations to meet the current and future needs of the County.

“I am honored to have spent the past 23 years collaborating with city and county elected officials, leaders and employees, residents, businesses and other stakeholders to implement the community’s vision. where I lived, ”James said in a statement. “I look forward to working in partnership with the people of Kent County in the same way that together we are working to strengthen Western Michigan.”

The announcement of James’ hiring comes just a week after Britt announced he was stepping down from his current job as county general manager. His retirement, however, is unlikely to take place until July 2021 and could extend later if a replacement is not selected on time.

The contract extension allowing his retirement in July 2021 is submitted to the Kent County Council of Commissioners for approval later this month. A seven-person committee made up of commissioners and business and community leaders will coordinate the nationwide search for Britt’s replacement.

Britt was selected as Kent County Administrator in January 2018, having served on an interim basis since June 2017. He has worked in the County since 2004.

Related: Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt to retire

The nationwide search for a deputy county administrator began on April 16. County staff, elected officials and a city leader interviewed two finalists and selected James.

County officials are also currently looking for someone to fill the role of Deputy County Administrator. Applications will be accepted until November 6.

The vacancy was created by the retirement this month of Deputy County Administrator Matthew VanZetten, who retired for medical reasons.

Prior to Britt’s tenure as county administrator, there were usually two deputy administrators under the direction of the general manager.

As part of a restructuring, an empty assistant role has been elevated to deputy county administrator, which James will be the first to fill.

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