Chris A. Yonker, City Administrator
Chris is the chief administrative officer of the City responsible to the City Commission for the administration of all City affairs placed in the Administrator’s charge by or under the
City’s Charter. He oversees all departments and is responsible for administering and enforcing the City’s policies and ordinances. He is also one of the City’s head cheerleaders, always
expounding on the virtues of working, living, visiting and doing business in East Jordan. As the City Administrator, he is focused on fiscal responsibility and the revitalization of the downtown
area along with the continuation and strengthening of the sense of “community” in our area.
Chris is a native of West Michigan, growing up in the Spring Lake/ Grand Haven area and graduating from Spring Lake High School. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental
Sciences & Land Use Planning from Grand Valley State University in 1979 and his Masters of Public Administration Degree in Local Government Management from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1990.
Chris has been the City Manager for the City of East Jordan (pop. 2,351) since August 20, 2012. He previously served for two & ˝ years as the City Manager of Wayland, MI (pop. 4,079), fifteen
years as the City Manager of Fremont, MI (pop. 4,081) and for 10 years as the Capital Budget Officer for the City of Evanston, Illinois (pop. 74,486 and home to Northwestern University.) Prior to
that, Chris was employed for five years as the Assistant Executive Director for the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission (pop. 100,000) in southwest Missouri.
Among his many professional activities, he serves as an advisor & staff support for the following City organizations: City Commission, Downtown Development Authority, Planning
Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. He also serves as the City’s Zoning Administrator and Airport Manager.
While in Wayland, Chris guided the City to many significant accomplishments and projects:
- Combined several state grants and local bond funds to install new decorative LED streetlights from US-131 to and throughout the City’s downtown.
- Obtained state grants for the purchase of 26 acres along the Rabbit River and the construction of the new Rabbit River Park & Nature Trail.
- Assisted the Downtown Development Authority to apply for and receive designation as a Selected Level community under the MI Main Street program.
While in Fremont, Chris was involved with the following accomplishments and projects:
- Facilitated & supported the creation of the formal Fremont Community Joint Planning Commission, the 1st joint PC in MI under the State’s new Joint Planning Act that involves a city & multiple townships.
- Member of the Steering Committee that guided preparation of the original (’01) Joint Fremont Area Community Development and Growth Management Plan for the City and two adjacent Townships; the Plan was updated in 2010-11 w/ the assistance of the Land Information Access Association (LIAA).
- Member of the City/Township Cooperation and Boundary Adjustment Committee since ’94, which lead to the ’04 adoption of a historic boundary agreement between the City and Dayton & Sheridan Townships. The “Act 425 Agreement” helps manage growth, share revenues & create a win/win relationship for all three parties. The Agreement is widely acclaimed statewide as very innovative, and is being used as a model for other communities.
- Initiated, advised & guided creation & adoption of the City’s new innovative Hybrid Form-Based/Traditional Zoning Code (effective 10/07) becoming one of only a handful of MI cities to adopt a Form-Based Code, which incorporates the concepts of Traditional Neighborhood Development, New Urbanism & the 10 Tenets of Smart Growth.
- Member of the LIAA Statewide Advisory Committee for the “Partnerships for Change” joint planning assistance program.
- Member of the Steering Committee for the development of the "Building a Sense of Place" GIS-based Community Information System and a Team Member that developed the new City website.
- Founding board member & first President of the Newaygo Co. Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
- Founding board member, former President and Trustee of the nonprofit Newaygo County Economic Development Organization, Inc. (NCEDO), serving on several standing Committees as well as the Executive Board.
- Past President & V-P (board member since ’93) of the nonprofit Fremont Economic Development Corp.; the FEDC assisted the City in developing the 148-acre Fremont Industrial Park, which is home to numerous companies employing over 600.
- Active member- Fremont Chamber of Commerce & the Chamber's National Baby Food Festival Board of Directors (’94-’07).
- Advisor and staff support to three Fremont Authorities: Downtown Development (DDA), Local Development Finance (LDFA-Industrial Park) and Building (Municipal Complex) all of which used Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
- Member of the Fremont Area District Library's Strategic Planning and Construction Design Committees; instrumental in establishing the District and the construction of the library expansion.
On the civic side, Chris was a member and former officer of the Fremont Rotary Club & has been a mentor to youth through the "Helping One Student to Succeed" (HOSTS) reading program.
He regularly presents to school classes & civic groups on topics such as citizenship, local government operations, economic development, growth management & environmental stewardship &
conducts student and other tours of the City’s facilities. He has been active in support of the United Way, Leukemia Research Foundation, D.A.R.E. anti-drug & violence program & the Boy & Girl Scouts.
Chris has relocated to East Jordan and is renting a house in the city until he can secure a new home. He enjoys various outdoor pursuits such as hiking, boating, fishing and bike riding.
His wife Diane was most recently the Program Director for the Newaygo County Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts & a former 17-year veteran as the Ex. Director of the Fremont Area Chamber
of Commerce. They have three wonderful children: Kristin in Grand Rapids, Evan in Fremont and Emilie in Breckenridge.