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Thread: Director position

  1. #1
    Mar 2005

    Director position

    This is similar to another post, but different enough that I wanted to get some separate feedback.

    I received my Master's degree 8 years ago and have worked for a couple of cities in the past 8 years. One was a city/county with a pop of approx. 250k and the other is a city with a pop of approx 25k. My responsibilities are currently similar to an assistant director since it's a smaller office and I have the opportunity to get more involved and take on a leadership role in many aspects of the position. I am in the process of taking my AICP (May). I was planning to seek a director position after I received my AICP but a position recently opened and I was asked by a county board member to apply. It's a county director position. I currently work for a city within the county. The county is not entirely rural and has several large cities operating within. It's a director position in a newly created department. They recently let go their first planning director which was located within the building department. They are now separating the departments and the new director will hire support staff.

    I am thinking pretty intently about applying for the position. I feel like it's a step I want to take. My reservations come from the fact that I have never worked for a county (exclusively) and just taking that leap to director.

    Can any of you speak to your personal experiences during that career change. What were some things that may have surprised you, things you were unprepared for, and whether or not you think it's a feasible jump from city to county. Any other comments are also welcomed. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Oct 2001
    A county is a far different animal than a city. You need to know what the expectations of the Commission are and why the last director was shown the door. Don't plan on more than average longevity, especially if you have to drag a backwater into the real world. No one loves a bureaucrat with vision.

    The biggest problem I encountered was finding out who at the county was "protected" and who I could actually expect to show up and work for a living. Move slowly at first. And document, document, document.

    Your mileage may differ. Good luck
    el Guapo is a former 20 year +/- urban planner (just like you) who thought becoming an attorney was a good life choice.

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