After serving on the East Grand Rapids City Commission for nearly five years, Phil Skaggs will step down from his position as he transitions into his newly elected role as a Kent County Commissioner.
The announcement came at the City Commission’s Monday, Dec. 19 meeting.
“Serving the residents of East Grand Rapids as part of this amazing team on the commission has been very fulfilling,” Skaggs said. “I’m honored to have worked with the mayor and commission over the past years to find new and innovative ways to improve our already top-notch community.
Skaggs was appointed as a first ward commissioner in January 2012 to fill the vacant spot as Mayor Amna Seibold transitioned into her new role. Skaggs filled out the remainder of Seibold’s term and was elected to a full term in 2013.
“Phil has been a great advocate for the residents of East Grand Rapids,” Mayor Amna Seibold said. “We are grateful for his efforts to advance our community and wish him well as he transitions into his new role at the County.”
During his tenure on the commission, Skaggs became active in a number of issues on the City Commission. Skaggs advocated for the unanimous adoption of a non-discriminatory ordinance for the LGBT community in March 2015.
“The evening we passed the ordinance was a memorable night in my career on the commission,” Skaggs said. “The chamber was packed with citizens – we came together as a community to show that East Grand Rapids welcomes all people.
Skaggs has long been interested in infrastructure in East Grand Rapids, beginning in 2003 when, as a resident, he worked with the City to incorporate traffic calming measures on Hall Street. He cites this as his first introduction to working with local government. As a commissioner, Skaggs continued his interest in the City’s infrastructure by championing the streets and sidewalks millage in 2015.
“One of the keystones of our City is that it’s a walkable, bikeable and easily commutable community,” Skaggs said. “Having streets and sidewalks that are well taken care of and safe is vital to ensuring East continues to be a desirable place to live and raise a family. We worked extremely hard to communicate with residents about the proposal and are proud that it passed with an overwhelming majority of 63 percent.”
Skaggs also cited expanding housing options in Gaslight Village and improving the ways the City communicates with citizens as accomplishments the commission made during his tenure.
Skaggs will start his new term on the Kent County Commission in January 2017, though he says he will still be a strong advocate for the East Grand Rapids community.
“I’m not moving out of East,” Skaggs said. “I will still represent our City – just at a different level of government. Now on county commission, I will continue to look for ways to improve the quality of life of the people of East Grand Rapids.”
Skaggs, his wife, Elizabeth, and two daughters have lived in East Grand Rapids since 2000.
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