San Juan County Community Development and Planning Department will have new leadership and longer operating hours beginning November 3.
"For the past few months, our Director of Community Development and planning, Rene Beliveau, and I have been discussing his department and future plans. This week, in consultation with the county Council, I concluded that everything was in place to make the announcement," said county Manager Mike Thomas.
Beliveau will continue serving in his position until November 3, 2013.
Beliveau moved into the department director's position in July of 2009 with the departure of then-director Ron Henrickson. In a move described as "streamlining and realigning" the department in the wake of severe budget cutbacks, Beliveau retained his responsibilities as the County's building official as well as assuming the administrative duties of running one of the County's highest profile departments.
Thomas praised Beliveau for bringing expertise and professionalism to a department during difficult times. During his tenure the county went through cutbacks, switched to a different form of government, dealt with controversial Growth Management Act regulatory issues such as the update to the Critical Areas Ordinance.
"As he told me, this was not a position he sought out. It was a tough job and he put everything he had into it," Thomas said.
Thomas has designated Sam Gibboney to serve as the transitional Director of CD&P until a new director is appointed.
Gibboney joined the San Juan County Public Works staff as the Solid Waste Program Administrator in January 2013 and has negotiated the transition of the County’s solid waste facilities.
Gibboney has worked for and with local, rural governments for more than twenty years. Before coming here, she owned a consulting company that provided project management, communication and organizational development services to government agencies, non-profits and businesses. She has worked with community development departments to make their permit processes more balanced and easier to understand.
Thomas said she brings both technical expertise and a facilitative style. Gibboney has a degree in civil engineering and a Master of Public Administration from the UW Evans School of Public Affairs.
John Geniuch, the current deputy building official will be the acting building official overseeing building and inspection services. Geniuch holds a civil engineering degree and is a certified building official. He has been with the County since January 2008.
Finally, Thomas announced that beginning Monday, October 14t CD&P office hours will be extended to 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Office hours had been not been restored since budget-related cutbacks in 2009. Most departments limited the hours they were open to the public in order to give the smaller staff time to work uninterrupted.
"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 increasing service hours to give applicants and citizens more flexibility to obtain services during the work day is a visible step in that direction.