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Emmitsburg to have a town planner…again

(1/3) After two years of using a planning consultant to help map out the town’s future, the Town of Emmitsburg has decided to fill the vacant position of an in-house planner.

“With new state regulations and the way things are going, I believe there’s a need for a planner,” Mayor James Hoover said. “I’m also convinced and growing more concerned we are not prepared for the amount of growth that plan to come to us.”

The position of town planner has been vacant since the end of 2005 when planner Michael Lucas resigned. The position has been approved in the budget, but not filled, since then. The town has employed Annapolis-based Jakubiak and Associates, which has been instrumental in helping the town planning and zoning commission update the town master plan.

Town inspector Frank Henry was also assigned some in-house planning duties.

“The planning work that’s not his field of expertise,” Hoover said during the Dec. 17 town meeting. “That’s not an area he feels comfortable in.”  However, he also said that using a planner hasn’t worked out as well as he had hoped and so he wants to fill the position of town planner again.

“We want to get someone who’ll be up and running within days,” said Town Manager Dave Haller.

The town has been using a human resources consultant to do the advertising, write up the job description and conduct the pre-interviews. The planner position is expected to pay in the low-$40,000 range for someone with 5-10 years experience.

“The town currently has five planning positions, two are filled currently and we’re looking to fill one more,” Hoover said. “There’s no desire for me at this time to fill the other positions.”

Haller said that once all the changes are complete, he expects filling the position will save the town anywhere from $40,000 to $45,000 a year.

Hoover expects the changes to take place within the next 30-45 days. Jakubiak and Associates will be retained until their work on the town comprehensive plan is complete.

The town commissioners will have to approve of the final choice to fill the position.

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