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Island County’s new planning chief hails from Oregon

David Wechner has accepted the job as Island County’s new planning head and is expected to report for work beginning next month.

There are a few details remaining, however, before the agreement is formalized, according to Melanie Bacon, director of human resources.

Namely, contract details have to be hammered out and approved by the board of commissioners. Wechner also has to sign the contract, formalizing his acceptance of the position.

Wechner, the current director of the Josephine County Planning Department in southwestern Oregon, was offered the job by the board in May.

He will replace Bob Pederson, who resigned.

Bacon said Wechner accepted the job a short time after being offered the position but there have been a few delays in getting the details together.

“He’s accepted the job, but he wants to see a contract” she said.

“It’s not that he’s wavering on anything,” Bacon said.

Wechner declined an interview with The South Whidbey Record until a contract is signed.

Bacon expects the particulars to be wrapped up by next week at the latest, with the document signed a short time later.

Board Chairwoman Kelly Emerson also expressed faith that the county’s search for a new planning chief is over and that Wechner will report to work as scheduled.

“We feel confident he’ll start July 1,” Emerson said.

While a contract remains unsigned, Wechner’s pay is largely decided. The board offered him the job at the mid-point of the position’s salary range, $81,600.

By comparison, Pederson’s annual pay was $76,180.

According to Bacon, the difference is largely due to a policy change the board adopted earlier this year. New hires used to begin at the bottom of the range but it was found to be a hindrance in recruitment so the policy was reversed.

Wechner is the first hired with his experience factored in, Bacon said.

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