Back in April we reported on a reorganization plan for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department that is designed to put a bit more emphasis on small business needs and customer service.
A few of you have been asking where that stands, and it looks like you should expect to see some new faces in the department soon.
Scott McCullough, the city's director of Development Services, confirmed the city has made three new hires. One of them, though, isn't a new face.
Amy Miller, who has worked in the planning department for the last nine years, has been named as Assistant Director of Planning. Miller has been a long-range planner responsible for things such as keeping Horizon 2020 updates, crafting area plans for portions of the county expected to develop in the future, and monitoring city population projections. In her new job, she'll have a focus on monitoring and improving the department's customer service processes.
Longtime planner Sheila Stogsdill previously held the title of Assistant Director of Planning, although the position had different responsibilities. Stogsdill in April moved into a new position of planning administrator, which is responsible for overseeing all planning applications made to the office and ensuring they are processed in a timely manner.
The city also has hired an economic development professional to staff its newly created Small Business Facilitator position in the planning department. Cyndi Hermocillo-Legg will come to the position after having worked for Go Topeka, the economic development organization in the Capital City. She led that organization's small and minority business programs and its entrepreneurial programs.
With Lawrence, Hermocillo-Legg will be responsible for working closely with small businesses that file applications with the planning department. McCullough said the work will include "hot spotting issues and resolving conflicts to facilitate applications in process, and following up with small businesses to let them know they have a personal contact at City Hall."
The city also has hired a longtime Wichita city employee to fill the position of Assistant Director of Development Services, which came open with the retirement of Margene Swarts. Kurt Schroeder will come to the position after serving 20 years as the director of the Office of Central Inspections for the city of Wichita. In that job he oversaw code enforcement, inspections and building permits, which will be pretty similar to his responsibilities in the Lawrence job. Schroeder also will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the city's new rental registration program.
Miller started her new position earlier this week. Hermocillo-Legg and Schroeder are expected to start Aug. 5.