Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

County planning director calls it quits

The Crook County payroll will drop a bit with the resignation of Pete Schannauer, county planning director/legal counsel. Schannauer's letter of resignation is expected to be delivered this week
The Crook County payroll will drop a bit with the resignation of Pete Schannauer, county planning director/legal counsel. Schannauer's letter of resignation is expected to be delivered this week.
   Schannauer was hired by the county more than four years ago, and has held the joint position for some time, earning a total of $84,421 per year. Only one other person in the county structure made more money and that person, Bruce Ricks, had been hired as a contract employee. Ricks had been hired to mitigate problems the county was having keeping the state Department of Environmental Quality from closing down the county landfill. His salary, when all the perks were taken into account was reported to be closer to $95,000 per year. Rick)s contract was terminated recently, and a new landfill manager was hired.
   Ricks has agreed to continue on a (as-needed) basis as a consultant to protect the county from losing its landfill permit with the state. The new landfill manager, Alan Keller, had been working at the fairgrounds until accepting the $43,000 per year job.
   Like Ricks, Schannauer will continue on until a new planning director can be hired. His resignation is to take effect June 30, but the county will continue to pay him through the end of the August pay period. County Judge Scott Cooper explained that Schannauer has so much knowledge that it will pay to have him help with the transition.
   Cooper said the county will begin advertising for a new planning director immediately, but will contract for its legal needs. That plan will be evaluated in six months to make sure it is working.
   One issue that both Ricks and Schannauer faced was the fact that both had huge impacts on the county but neither resided within the county. Cooper said that issue will be discussed with the new planning director.
   "We)ll make it clear up front that we want the planning director to reside in Crook County. That is difficult to enforce," he added, "but it will be a question asked in the interview and we)ll make it clear that the person will never get a raise if he doesn)t live here."
   Overall, Cooper said, having a change at that level is a positive thing. However, he wanted to make it clear that Schannauer has done a good job with a very difficult situation. "In the four and a half years he)s been here, he has managed to keep both departments operating and moved the county in new directions. Whether you agree with his decisions or not, he has done a good job."