ST. JOSEPH — Berrien County commissioners Thursday unanimously approved hiring South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette as the county’s next administrator.

He is expected to start July 1 after going through contract negotiations with the county. He will replace Administrator Bill Wolf, who is retiring June 12.

Dissette said that during his 12 years as South Haven’s manager, he’s built strong relationships with surrounding municipalities, which he wants to do with Berrien County.

“We’ve created shared services for recreation, for planning (and) zoning,” he said before he was hired. “We’ve improved shared services for police operations, and then we’ve refined and grown our shared services for our ambulance and fire service.”

He said it was important to build those relationships because South Haven is only 3.5 square miles, but its utilities are spread out over 20 square miles.

“Treating the townships ... and businesses within that area as valued partners has been what we focused on, and I think it’s really helped us grow,” he said.

Dissette said most recently he helped to cut the ribbon on the last of the downtown streets to be completely reconstructed.

“That’s something that we just tackled one after another,” he said. “We have a dedicated capital improvement plan. We follow it.”

He said he would like to implement a similar program in Berrien County.

“I’ve built an incredible team of folks that I work with on a daily basis,” he said. “I know that if I leave there today, they’re going to be in absolutely fine condition. I’m eager to continue that team building effort ... and try something new.”

Dissette was hired as South Haven’s assistant city manager in 2006 before being named the city manager in 2008.

A South Haven native, he is married to Kelly Getman-Dissette. They have three children.

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege