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Planner II vs Planner III

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
I’ve been a Planner 2 for a few years now, half the time in the public sector and half in the private (consulting) sector, and am thinking it’s time to shoot my shot to be a Planner III. In your professional opinions, what are the main things that make a Planner III role different from a Planner II role in public sector local government?

In a smaller agency this might be the difference between an entry level planner (but not Planning Tech) and a mid/senior planner (but not Principal) if you don’t use numerical titles.
 
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SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
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1,383
Points
25
In my current organization, the next step after Planner II is Senior Planner. A SP can take on any application. A Planner III may be a senior planner in certain organizations. One county I worked in was just that. III was right below the director.
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
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14,529
Points
51
I'm in a bigger city so here's what I've got.

We split our planning into groups. Long range planning, zoning team (they process use permits, variance, and just the process part of the rezone), major site planning (me), and minor site planning.
We have a team leader in charge of each (except major and minor site planning fall into one). There are department heads and assistant heads and all that above him.
We have a planner 4 who is the technical expert for site planning. He' there to answer all those weird questions and supervises stuff in general. Personally I think we can do without a Planner 4, but it's nice to have the extra top level experts.
We have 2 planner 3 who supervise the major and minor site planning teams. They supervise, teach, distribute work loads, and generally make sure the work is getting done.
Then we have a hoard of planner 2 and 1 who do the work.

Quick answer, planner 2 is the work horse doing complicated site plans.
Planner 3 is the first level supervisor.
So it's a big change in responsibilities, but I would think any decent planner could handle the change.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
A Planner III may be a senior planner if certain organizations.
Right, that’s why I added the note at the end of my post to clarify this. My question is more what are the differences in roles and responsibilities? AKA how do I know I’m ready to move up?
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
@DVD thank you! Super helpful. My boss is a Planner III and she handles a lot of the budget related stuff, along with Council relations. Honestly sounds a little boring / intimidating and I’m not sure I want to be her.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,864
Points
21
I was a Planner II and later a Planner III at a previous job in consulting. I'll echo what was said. During my job interview for Planner II, I expressed interest in a management role. At the time, the planning staff was 1 or 2 other people and there wasn't anyone else interested in a management role. I was groomed from the start for management. We hired a few entry-level planners after that and I spent a few years training and managing their work before I was formerly promoted to management as a senior planner.

APA has a web page for generic planning job descriptions, and there should be boilerplate language for a Planner III/Senior Planner. If you are interested in management (and I mean TRULY interested in management because it's not for everyone) you should look into a senior planner role. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would like to do it again someday.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,291
Points
33
I think it's weird when places have positions like Planner II and then Senior Planner. It just seems like a whole different nomenclature for me. If you have senior planners then you should have junior planners. Or you could go Planner I, II, III, IV. I've seen that before too.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,529
Points
51
Ours does the planner 1-4 and team leader. Team leader is our generic term for a lower division supervisor. We have team leaders for each discipline and project management team. After that your up to division supervisors and department heads.

Our planner 3 and 4 don't handle budgets. That's a team leader problem. Because of our size we don't handle council much at all. That goes to department heads or a couple key positions that are more visible.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,726
Points
50
Planner III or Senior Planner will be doing more administrative work (oversight, management of projects, budget, council/manager interaction).

(less planning & more administration)
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
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6,606
Points
31
Planner III or Senior Planner will be doing more administrative work (oversight, management of projects, budget, council/manager interaction).

(less planning & more administration)
As a Senior Planner or Planner III, I have been doing a ton more administrative work and oversight (which is what I want to be doing). When I was a step down, as an associate planner (Planner II), I did a lot more "grind" into complex projects. I am still the lead for those complex projects, but I got minions to do my grunt work now.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,419
Points
18
I’ve been a Planner 2 for a few years now, half the time in the public sector and half in the private (consulting) sector, and am thinking it’s time to shoot my shot to be a Planner III. In your professional opinions, what are the main things that make a Planner III role different from a Planner II role in public sector local government?

In a smaller agency this might be the difference between an entry level planner (but not Planning Tech) and a mid/senior planner (but not Principal) if you don’t use numerical titles.
The simple answer is the higher position requires more independence, you're expected to work more on complex projects, and you're also taking on more of a leadership role to other staff. The more defined elements for a Planner I, II, and III really depends on the organization and its structure, though. Are you looking to move up in your organization, or move elsewhere with the intention of a higher level position? I personally think that it does not hurt to apply - worst case, you get to brush up on your interviewing skills and perhaps gather a better reflection of what skills needs to be enhanced before you move to that new position.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
@dw914er thanks for the insight! Move up in the same organization. Unfortunately hiring for that position has been paused due to the covid related recession :/.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
As a Senior Planner or Planner III, I have been doing a ton more administrative work and oversight (which is what I want to be doing). When I was a step down, as an associate planner (Planner II), I did a lot more "grind" into complex projects. I am still the lead for those complex projects, but I got minions to do my grunt work now.
Ah makes sense. Are you a consultant?
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
462
Points
12
I think it's weird when places have positions like Planner II and then Senior Planner. It just seems like a whole different nomenclature for me. If you have senior planners then you should have junior planners. Or you could go Planner I, II, III, IV. I've seen that before too.
Right? Doesn't make sense lol...I used to be in a place where it went straight from Planner I and Planner II to Senior Planner and then Principal Planner, which made no sense now that you bring this up. Stick to one system!
 
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