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Calvert Planning Director Resigns
Prince Frederick, MD - 3/14/2013
By Marty Madden
Calvert County’s Department of Community Planning and Building director has submitted his resignation, county government officials have confirmed.
Charles Johnston tendered his resignation last week. According to County Administrator Terry Shannon, Johnston, who became head of what was then known as the Department of Planning and Zoning in the autumn of 2011, is taking a planner’s post in Fredericksburg, VA and his last day with Calvert County Government will be April 5.
Shannon said Johnston, who served in a similar capacity in Clark County, VA for several years, “never did move officially to Calvert.” Calvert County Government department heads are required to reside in the county. Due to the challenging housing market, Shannon said the board gave Johnston a little more time. The job opening in Fredericksburg, said Shannon, was “an opportunity that presented itself” for Johnston, who will remain in Virginia.
Shannon indicated the search for Johnston’s replacement will involve screening by a personnel board, with the candidates deemed to be the top three or four to be interviewed by the county commissioners for a final decision.
According to Shannon, county government officials are in the process of reviewing the requirements for the director’s post and fine tuning the desired qualifications. There will subsequently be postings on the Internet and advertisements in government planning magazines seeking applicants for the post.
“It’s been an interesting experience, it’s been a challenge,” said Johnston of his brief tenure in Calvert. He added hope that his successor will focus on the “long-term and big picture” challenges for planning and developing Calvert County.
Johnston succeeded Greg Bowen as the director of the Department of Planning and Zoning. Bowen, a longtime deputy director, had held the job for six years following the retirement of Frank Jaklitsch.
During his short tenure with Calvert County, Johnston oversaw the reorganization of the department.
“I think it’s going well,” said Johnston of the inner-department realignment, which was crafted to make planning and zoning more customer friendly. “I think it has been effective. We are getting a 90 percent positive response.”
Johnston explained the response is being gauged by an online customer survey.
Recent comments received have complimented staff members for their responsiveness. “Very willing to help and a pleasure to talk to,” stated one resident. “Everyone I spoke with was very friendly and helpful,” another citizen wrote. Another staff member was praised because she “answered all my questions and returned my calls in a timely manner.”
Johnston was also the catalyst of changing the name Department of Planning and Zoning to Department of Community Planning and Building.
Shannon admitted most people still refer to it as “Planning and Zoning.” As far a return to the old name, Shannon replied, “I wouldn’t be surprised if that topic came back up.”
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
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