Poisson Appoints County’s First Female Deputy County Executive

Oakland County Executive Gerald D. Poisson has appointed Laurie Van Pelt as the county’s first female deputy county executive. She also is the first Japanese American to serve in this position. This historic appointment continues the direction set by the late County Executive L. Brooks Patterson of promoting women to key positions in county administration. Van Pelt was the director of management and budget, the county’s chief fiscal officer.

headshot of Laurie Van Pelt

Laurie Van Pelt

“Laurie has impeccable credentials and leadership skills,” Poisson said. “Her insights have made her an invaluable member of the team that has ensured the county retains its AAA bond rating by maintaining a balanced, multi-year budget. She also is well-respected among her colleagues and other elected officials.”

Van Pelt will now be a part of the order of succession should another vacancy occur in the county executive office. On a related note, Poisson has appointed Deputy County Executive Robert J. Daddow as chief deputy county executive.

“It is an honor that the capstone to my career with the county is in one of the most trusted roles in the administration,” Van Pelt said. “We will steward the county as it transitions into a new administration.”

Van Pelt has served as director of management and budget for Oakland County since 2002. She has worked for the county for over 40 years.

Van Pelt, a certified public finance officer, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oakland University and a master’s degree in finance from Walsh College. She is the recipient of the 2010 Crain’s CFO of the Year award in the government sector category. She has assisted other governments by providing advice and guidance as a subject matter expert and has presented at national and state government finance association conferences and seminars.

In March 2018, Van Pelt travelled to Japan as part of the US Japan Council Japanese American Leaders Delegation (JALD), where she met with high-ranking leaders in government and business, including Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono. Van Pelt is one of only three people from Michigan who have been selected to participate in JALD since its inception in 2000.

Van Pelt’s appointment builds on the legacy of Patterson selecting women to be the first to lead certain county departments and divisions:

  • Compliance Office (Pam Weipert, compliance officer)
  • Corporation Counsel (Judith Cunningham, corporation counsel, retired)
  • Economic Development & Community Affairs (Maureen Donohue Krauss, director, currently chief economic development officer for the Indy Chamber)
  • Fiscal Services Division (Lynn Sonkiss, manager)
  • Health and Human Services (Kathleen Forzley, director)
  • Human Resources (Judith Eaton, director, retired)
  • Management and Budget (Laurie Van Pelt, former director)
  • Oakland County International Airport (Cheryl Bush, manager)
  • Risk Management (Julie Secontine, manager, retired)


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