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Thread: How much does your city manager lead in regards to planning?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    How much does your city manager lead in regards to planning?

    I just want to get a feel for what happens in other cities. Does you City Mgr set a general direction and tone? Do they get right down and into it?

    Would be interested to hear people's thoughts on this.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Very involved in Greensburg. But it that particular situation, everything was a production for the movie cameras. In my other communities, the managers were in the background. I suppose staff was respected and supported.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Well...

    Do you think that it depends somewhat on the initiative of the individuals involved?

    If you have a planning director who is not strong and does not have a lot of initiative, someone fills the void.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Well...

    Do you think that it depends somewhat on the initiative of the individuals involved?

    If you have a planning director who is not strong and does not have a lot of initiative, someone fills the void.
    I've worked for three and all three were different. I think it depends on the City Manager's background (i.e. if he/she feels comfortable delving into the land-use world) and also on the personality of the planning dept. If there are capable, well-spoken people in the dept. then the manager may feel more at ease in the background. Some are even a little...uninterested, maybe? I worked for one who quietly disagreed with most of the things we were trying to do in planning, but let us fight our fights and stayed out of it.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

    Excuse me, I'm from Newburgh, New York....

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    The head of the planning department doesn't even take a lead in planning activities. We have an interim director with no education or experience whatsoever in planning and the city manager thinks it would be a waste of time to search for a qualified person to head up the department.

    Unfortunately, sometimes nobody fills the void.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by crummmountain View post
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

    Excuse me, I'm from Newburgh, New York....

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    The head of the planning department doesn't even take a lead in planning activities. We have an interim director with no education or experience whatsoever in planning and the city manager thinks it would be a waste of time to search for a qualified person to head up the department.

    Unfortunately, sometimes nobody fills the void.

    Sounds like you have a crappy job...

    In other news, yes my City manager gets down and dirty and sets a tone for work to be completed. He is a former Planning Director, so he understands the world very well.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Sounds like you have a crappy job...
    Question: Are you trying to be mean or simply commiserating?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by crummmountain View post
    Question: Are you trying to be mean or simply commiserating?


    Both (no seriously, it sounds crappy, so yea, i feel for ya).
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  9. #9
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ouch!

    Quote Originally posted by crummmountain View post
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

    Excuse me, I'm from Newburgh, New York....

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    The head of the planning department doesn't even take a lead in planning activities. We have an interim director with no education or experience whatsoever in planning and the city manager thinks it would be a waste of time to search for a qualified person to head up the department.

    Unfortunately, sometimes nobody fills the void.
    My in-laws live close enough to your City to use your airport all the time. This post makes me sad From what I've read in the New York Times , Newburgh needs serious leadership considering some of the tough issues there.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/ny...2newburgh.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/ny..._r=1&ref=gangs
    Skilled Adoxographer

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    In my last position as a county planning director my former supervisor (the county supervisor; elected official) would tell you there was a "smart growth" direction. My direction as the county planning director was definitely a smart growth one. However, deep down he had no direction and did not give me more than the "this item is hot" or "you need to do this for this person" advice. I'm glad I'm not there anymore and feel bad for the staff and current director who is still there since the supervisor won the primary and is running unopposed for another 4 year term.
    @GigCityPlanner

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Can you tell me what the majority of your work is as planners?

    Is it zoning administration? Do you get projects directly from management to work on and make recommendations?

    Im trying to get a feel for what I want to do in our case. I am looking at a breakup of the Community Development Department because the director who is a planner does no planning and just adds another layer of management between me and the building and nuisance inspection division. I can get a planner for less funds who actually does planning for less money.

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Can you tell me what the majority of your work is as planners?

    Is it zoning administration? Do you get projects directly from management to work on and make recommendations?

    Im trying to get a feel for what I want to do in our case. I am looking at a breakup of the Community Development Department because the director who is a planner does no planning and just adds another layer of management between me and the building and nuisance inspection division. I can get a planner for less funds who actually does planning for less money.
    Does the director not really do anything, period? If his/her work is not satisfactory, then it sounds like you might need to eliminate him/her rather than reclassify the position (unless reclassifying is your way of forcing him/her out).

    As for city manager involvement, I've seen a little of everything, including a city manager that basically functioned as the planning director. It sounds like this could be a direction you are heading in. I've also seen city managers that are completely hands off (that approach ended badly). The one I knew that functioned as a planning director eventually reached a point that he had to bring in another person. However, that new person's skillset was more akin to a Sr. Planner or Principal Planner (day-to-day supervision and coordination, strong planning knowledge & experience, but not budgeting and had to get sign-off on personnel actions).

    Most of what I've been around is setting general direction & tone, and then getting 'dirty' on high-profile issues/projects (usually in response to Council interest or citizen activity).

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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