County hires new/old planner
The Crook County Court has finalized the process for replacing the man who, until resigning, filled both the county planning director and county legal counsel positions. Two very quailfied local residents will fill these important jobs and not only are these people directly involved with the community, their combined paychecks will be less than that paid their predecesorOnce again Crook County has a planning director. County Judge Scott Cooper said yesterday that of the eight candidates who had applied for the position, four were interviewed and one was chosen; Bill Zelenka.
Zelenka has been in the private sector as a planning consultant for the past ten years or so. But working for in the municipal arena will not be new to him, he served from 1979 to 1981 as the planning director for both the city and county when both entities shared a planning department.
"Bill said in the interview that being out of the public sector for 10 years wouldn't be a problem," Cooper said. "He felt he had learned a lot and will be a better planning director for it."
Best of all, Cooper added, Zelenka wrote the county's comprehensive plan.
Taking over the office as of the first of August, there will still be a few issues that he will have to step aside for when the county planning commission takes them up. One, the Outreach Northwest youth church camp proposed for the Mill Creek area has been a big project for Zelenka as a consultant. Another has to do with the Powell Butte rezoning problems that have been appealed to first the Land Use Board of Appeals and then on to the state court of appeals.
Cooper explained that Schannauer, the planning director that Zelenka will replace, will stay on the job until the end of August. "Maybe we can get some of these dealt with by then," Cooper said, "if not, then we'll just have to work around the problem."
Cooper said he is very happy to be hiring Zelenka for the $48,600 a year job. "We've made two hires in the last week and didn't have to leave the county to find the best candidates for the jobs. That feels good, to hire hometown folks."
Earlier this week the county court officially approved the hiring of Jeff Wilson, a partner in the local law firm of Dutli & Wilson.
Like Zelenka, Wilson will begin working for the county on Aug. 1. He will leave Dutli & Wilson to work for the county full-time. Again, similar to Zelenka, Wilson brings knowledge and a local perspective to the issues that face the county. He has served as legal council to both the cities of Redmond and Mitchell.
Wilson will replace outgoing counselor Peter Schannauer who resigned late in May. Schannauer had served as both legal counsel and planning director for a number of years. His resignation was to take affect as of the end of May, but he agreed to stay on the job long enough to make the transitition a smooth one.
The committee that was formed to conduct the interviews for the planning director position was made up of Cooper, Chet Petersen, chair of the county planning commission; Prineville City Manager Henry Hartley and, representing the real estate community, Mike Warren.
"That committee represents a good broad section of the interests who Zelenka as planning director, will have an impact on," Cooper said.