Cass County close to selecting new leader

Published 9:53 am Friday, May 13, 2016

Update: Information about Folks’ professional background has been added to the story.

After a nearly six-month effort, the search for the next administrative head of the Cass County government appears to be coming to a close.

The members of the Cass County Board of Commissioners voted to submit a written job offer to Karen Folks, of Flushing, Michigan, for the vacant position of county administrator during a special meeting Thursday morning at the county annex building in Cassopolis. County officials plan on mailing and emailing the job offer to Folks following final revisions to the offer letter Thursday evening.

According to the draft of the letter, should Folks accept the position, the contract between her and the county will go before the board for approval at the May 19 meeting or a special meeting that will take place before June 1. Should the commissioners approve the contract, she will begin her tenure with the county June 6.

According to a copy of her resume provided to Leader Publications, Folks has more than 25 years of experience working as an administrator and attorney with Michigan municipalities. She served two stints as the chief assistant attorney with the City of Flint, from January 1990 to August 1996 and from February 2001 to May 2002; she also served as Flint’s chief legal officer from May 2002 to July 2004. She later served as the administrator/attorney for the City of Ecorse, from April 2010 to August 2013, and as administrator of the City of Allen Park from August 2013 to March 2015.

Since her departure from Allen Park, she has worked as consultant with nonprofits and governmental entities.

Folks graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in music, and received a law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she graduated cum laude.

Folks’ selection follows a series of interviews conducted between she and the board that took place in late April. Folk was one of five top candidates for the position presented for the commissioners’ consideration by Hiring Solutions LLC, a hiring firm that was contracted to assist the county with the search for a new administrator in January.

The county administrator office has been empty since early December, when the board voted in a 4-2 decision to terminate the contract of Roger Fraser following the settlement of an unfair labor suit against the county in November. Fraser had served as administrator since late 2013, when he was hired to take over for Louis Csokasy, who resigned from the position that summer.

Should Folks’ hire be approved, she will become the fourth person in six years to serve as county administrator, since the departure of longtime administrator Terry Proctor in March 2010.

Information regarding’s Folks’ previous employment and education was not available as of press time.