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Personnel changes at county planning department in store, office hours to be extended

San Juan County community development and planning will begin the month of November with longer business hours and a new boss at the helm.

“For the past few months, our director of community development and planning, Rene Beliveau, and I have been discussing his department and future plans," county Manager Michael Thomas said Friday about the department and changes in store in a press release. "This week, in consultation with the county council, I concluded that everything was in place to make the announcement.”

Beliveau, who took over as department director following the departure of Ron Henrickson, in mid-2009, will continue to serve in that role until Nov. 3. He retained responsibilities as chief county building official while taking over administrative duties of the one of the largest, highest profile departments during a period of severe budget cuts, wherein the department, as described by county officials, was "streamlined and realigned."

Thomas praised Beliveau for bringing professionalism and expertise to the department during difficult times. He took over as director as the county was wrestling with budget cuts and revision of the critical areas ordinance, and during the switch over from a 3-person county commission to a 6-person county council, and then to a 3-person county council.

“As he told me, this was not a position he sought out," Thomas said. "It was a tough job and he put everything he had into it.”

Meanwhile, the doors of the Community Development and Planning Department office will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., beginning Oct. 14.

“Despite budget challenges,” Thomas said. “the time has come to move forward with new ideas, new technology and a vision of service first that produces high quality services for our citizens.”

Thomas said that Sam Gibboney, who joined the Department of Public Works as administrator of the solid waste program in January of this year, will serve as acting director of the Community Development and Planning Department until a new director is appointed. Gibboney has helped manage the transition in which the county solid waste facilities will be run by private operators since joining Public Works.

Before joining the county, Gibboney was owner of a consulting firm offering project management, communication and development services to businesses, non-profits and government agencies. She has a degree in civil engineering, master's degree in public administration, and has worked both for and with local, rural governments for more than 20 years. She brings both a "technical and facilitative style" to the job, Thomas said.

Deputy Building Official John Geniuch was named acting building official, and will oversee the department's building and inspection services, after Beliveau steps down.

 

 

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