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Kalamazoo commissioners approve a contract with a new administrator

A portrait of Catlin, in dark suit jacket, blue shirt and purple-blue tie with silver highlights.
Courtesy photo
Kalamazoo County
The Kalamazoo County Board has chosen Kevin Catlin as the county's next administrator.

The board also signed off on several projects to build and renovate affordable housing.


The Kalamazoo County Board has approved a contract with a new chief executive, Kevin Catlin. Attorney Matt Nordfjord said the deal is in line with offers made to previous administrators.

“I’m very comfortable recommending this contract. I think it is absolutely appropriate with the both the market and consistent with prior contracts offered by this body,” Nordfjord said.

Catlin is the former City Manager of Springfield near Battle Creek. He’s currently the administrator in Boone County, Illinois, but Catlin resigned from that post (effective next month) over a conflict with the Boone County Board.

Catlin’s new board in Kalamazoo is also split on many issues, including his hiring. Last night three Republican commissioners voted against the contract.


Kalamazoo County has signed off on several new projects aimed at narrowing its affordable housing gap. Commissioners voted Tuesday to move ahead with single-family home construction in several parts of the City of Kalamazoo. They also approved neighborhood rehabilitation plans for Galesburg and Kalamazoo Township, and renovations at the Pinehurst Townhomes in Oshtemo. Housing Director Mary Balkema said it’s a start.

“There’s not enough dollars in this category to go around,” she said. “But if we can do 25 to 30 homes a year, we will begin to make a dent in it over time.”

Now that commissioners have agreed to spend $2.6 million on the work, other sources will kick in $18 million, according to Balkema.

John McNeil covers local local government for WMUK. He has over 5 decades of broadcasting experience and over 40 years as a Journalist in Kalamazoo.