There is Hope

July 14, 2008

We still don’t know what but something obviously happened which has resulted in a major staff shake up. Hope Sullivan is gone. The engineer that reviews plans for permits and the Town Geologist had been moved to report to Hope Sullivan (right around the time that Kent Dewell left) despite the fact that Hope is not an engineer and that she was not qualified to supervise these people. That way, she had total control over whether you would get a building permit or not and how long it took you to get it.

Now Hope is gone, and after review of the new Town Budget, we are happy to report these two positions (Geologist and Development Engineer) are back where they should be in the Engineering Department.

This gives us real hope. Perhaps, the Town Council has become serious about addressing the very real problems that have been endemic in the Planning Department. There have been continual complaints about the arbitrary nature of the decisions, the inconsistent interpretation of the rules, discrimination and retaliation. We hope there is a plan to turn this all around.

Three things need to happen. First there needs to be a process with public in-put to determine the characteristics which the Town will look for in a Planning Director. Both the salary range and job description should be reviewed in the process. Secondly, the selection process itself (review of resumes and interviews) should include more than just the Susan George (after all she is the one that hired Hope!). A select committee of residents could be involved. Third, the direction needs to be set at the top that lets the new Planning Director know that we want a knowledgeable professional with a problem solving attitude, who will be fair and impartial.

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