>   City officials will breathe a sigh of relief Dec. 26, with the hiring of a new planning director.
   Steve Miller, 40, a former senior planner for the city of Bend, and most recently a senior planner for Pahlish Homes of Bend, has accepted the long vacant job.
   Since July 31, when former director Chuck McGraw resigned without advance notice, the city of Madras has been without a Community Development Department director.
   Without a director, the duties of the busy department have fallen to City Administrator Mike Morgan and the two-member planning staff.
   Although the lack of a director added a tremendous amount to his workload, Morgan and the interview team of Mayor Jason Hale and City Councilor Melanie Widmer took their time to find the right person for the job.
   "What I really wanted was someone who saw development from both a private sector and public sector," said Morgan. "I think he's got the right combination."
   Miller has a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon in planning, public policy and management.
   The position will be his first department director job, and he is looking forward to learning about the Madras community. "It's going to be an interesting challenge," he said.
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