Langley will look for new community planner

The city of Langley will hire a replacement for Fred Evander, the city's community planner who announced his resignation on Dec. 30.

The Langley City Council is expected to review a consultant contract at its meeting tonight for Larry Kwarsick, the former director of public works for Island County. Langley Mayor Paul Samuelson has tapped Kwarsick, who is currently working as a contract planner for the city of Coupeville, to replace Larry Cort. Cort, the city's planning director, said last month he was stepping down to take a job with the city of Oak Harbor.

Langley has drawn criticism in recent years for the size of its planning department, which has more employees than many cities of its size.

In a press release issued Monday afternoon, city officials said they were offering a one-year contract to Kwarsick, but would begin looking immediately for someone to replace Evander.

"We will be posting the community planner position immediately and hope to have somebody ready to start in February," Samuelson said in the news release.

Kwarsick was expected to start work in Langley much sooner: today.

Under the proposed contract, Kwarsick would be paid $2,500 a month for a minimum of 34 hours of work (or approximately $73.50 an hour).

Kwarsick could earn a maximum of $30,000 as basic compensation under the proposed agreement.

He would also be paid an $100 per hour for work on special tasks that are financed by grant revenues. That's likely to include work on the rebuilding of Second Street, a major project funded by grant revenue that is expected to start this year.

City officials also noted that they will move forward with a restructuring effort of the planning department. The new hire who will replace Evander will handle day-to-day activities and special projects in the planning department, with Kwarsick providing oversight, management and planning advice.

Langley was hit with two back-to-back resignations in its planning department in late December. While Cort will remain on Whidbey, Evander has accepted a job with the Thurston Regional Planning Council, where he is expected to handle planning work for two small towns in Thurston County, and also help with larger scale, regional planning efforts.

In his resignation letter, Evander said he had enjoyed his work in Langley but noted he would be moving closer to family with the new job.

"I will truly miss the Langley community and the great people that I have met during my time here," Evander said in the letter.

Evander's last day as Langley's community planner is Jan. 14, the same date that Cort is stepping down.

Samuelson has moved quickly to fill the post that will be vacated by Cort's departure.

"I know it seems rushed on the outside, but there has been a lot of work on the process," the mayor said.

"I think the caliber of the person I am able to get is what's important," Samuelson said. "This is not just running out and getting anybody. This is Larry Kwarsick."

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