Mill Valley's Community Development Director (Planning Director), Rory Walsh, retired in December 2008 after 9 years. Anne Montgomery, our City Manager, has hired a recruiting firm to conduct a national search for her replacement, and is seeking public input by Friday March 13th.
The person in this position will have a large impact on the look and feel of Mill Valley for years to come, as this person regularly meets and negotiates with developers, with minimal guidance from our part-time volunteer elected and appointed officials. Most of us would like a Planning Director who shares and respects the values of our community, and who understands that good planning begins with community values.
Other hiring related recommendations include:
- Title - change the name of the position back to Planning Director. The "Community Development" title and department name are used by larger cities such as San Rafael, Novato, Oakland, San Mateo, Santa Rosa, Fremont, Richmond, and Daly City. The "Community Development Director" title may not attract candidates with appropriate backgrounds for our community's desire to "preserve a small-town character."
- Interview Process - the City Manager's current plan is to have a professional panel of Planning Directors from around the area interview the candidate list provided by the recruiter. The interview team should be broadened to include members of the City Council (now included), Planning Commission, and public. Local input is critical to this process, and candidates will equally benefit from meeting all constituents.
- Local Candidates - a preference should be given to identifying local candidates rather than "national" search candidates. Candidates who live in Marin are even more desirable. Our last Planning Director lived in San Francisco.
- Goals - once hired, the goals and objectives of our new Planning Director should be made public. The public's feedback should be included in the Planning Director's annual performance review process.
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