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County’s planner plans to leave

Island County Planner Bob Pederson chose to resign his position after three years.  - Justin Burnett / The Record
Island County Planner Bob Pederson chose to resign his position after three years.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / The Record

Island County Planning Director Bob Pederson is leaving.

Pederson, hired in 2009, submitted a letter of resignation to the Board of Commissioners on Monday morning.

According to the letter, his last day on the job will be Friday, April 5.

“After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to pursue some other interests at this time in my life; be they semi-retirement, consulting work, career opportunities in a new field, travel and fulfilling my ‘bucket list,’” Pederson wrote. “I am also toying with the idea of going to law school, which is something I always wanted to do but could never find the time.”

Pederson could not be reached for comment.

Pederson replaced former planning director Jeff Tate and was the first choice of a board that consisted of three Democrats.

Prior to coming to Island County, Pederson was the Manatee County, Fla., community planning administrator.

Over the past four years, he has shepherded several major projects, including the recently adopted Shoreline Master Program update, while administering the department amid unprecedented budget cuts.

Pederson holds the distinction of being sued by one of his bosses. He continues to be embroiled in the unresolved dispute involving Commissioner Kelly Emerson, her husband Ken Emerson, and a building project at their Camano Island home.

The Emersons sued Pederson, along with a commissioner, planning enforcement officer and the county, in Island County Superior Court. The case was dismissed by Judge Alan Hancock.

The Emersons still owe the county $37,000 in fines related to the case. It’s currently up to Pederson to decide whether to take action to try to collect the money.

Commissioner Emerson was unavailable for comment for this story.

Change in the leadership of the planning department is not unusual.

Tate, who worked for years for a Republican majority, resigned his post just months after the election of commissioners Angie Homola and Helen Price Johnson, both Democrats.

Republican Commissioner Jill Johnson, who took office this year, declined to comment on employee matters in an interview Tuesday morning, other than to confirm that the board received his resignation.

“We accepted that and are thankful of his service,” Johnson said.

She also wished him well, saying she is “excited to see what he chooses to do next.”

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