Looking to the future retirement of the public works director and to streamline processes associated with building and licensing, Rehoboth Beach has created the positions of deputy director of public works and director of planning and community development.
City Manager Laurence Christian took over city operations in late December 2022. He said among the first things commissioners tasked him with doing was creating a succession plan for long-term employees.
Christian said that’s the case with the public works director, who has indicated he plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year, which is March 31, 2024. The plan, he said, is to get the right person hired as soon as possible, so Director Kevin Williams, who took over in May 2018, can share all the information he has before riding off into the sunset.
As for the director of planning and community development, Christian said another issue discussed by commissioners during his hiring process late last year was concern about delays in processing business licenses, building permits and other items that fall under the building and licensing department. The city has a very good software system, but it isn’t maximizing its capabilities, and a director of planning would facilitate a full implementation of the software, he said.
The city has a contract with Maryland-based engineering firm Wallace Montgomery for technical support on large projects and would continue to use that, Christian said.
The city receives more phone calls related to building and licensing than any other department, he said. Commissioners and the public will be excited with the new efficiencies once things are put in place, he said.
Mayor Stan Mills said all the commissioners are on board with the succession plan for the public works director and any future departures. It’s something that’s been on his mind for a decade, he said.
According to a job description on the city’s website, the planning director will have a minimum salary of $92,487 per year, while the public works deputy director will make at least $90,000 annually.
Christian said the goal is to fill both positions as soon as possible. The city has begun to review applications and will be setting up preliminary phone interviews soon, he said.
Once the public works deputy director has transitioned to director, the deputy position will not be immediately filled, said Christian.
There are several other positions the city has identified as needing a successor when individuals decide to leave. By law, Christian said, the city is not allowed to ask about an employee’s plans, but when it happens, the city needs to be prepared.
As for the planning director, there was money earmarked in an administrative contingency fund in the current year’s budget, and it will be a regular line item in the budget for the next fiscal year, said Christian.