County looks for new planning director

Island County is searching for a new planning director, and the department will be re-structured in the meantime.

The current director, Hiller West, has asked to be re-instated as development service manager, which is the position he was originally hired in, according to Commissioner Helen Price Johnson. The position focuses on permitting, critical area services and code-compliance.

Beckye Frey is currently heading long-range planning.

The re-structure had been in consideration since the departure of Beverly Mesa-Zendt, the assistant planning director, a couple of months ago, Price Johnson said.

The county similarly split up the department’s leadership in 2015 after the sudden departure of former planning director Dave Wechner. Whether the configuration remains will be up to the new planning director, Price Johnson said.

“We’ll work with them on their vision for the department,” she said.

West cited personal reasons for wanting to step down from his current position.