City of Dickinson Discusses New Community Development Director Position – The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON — With the resignation of the Director of Planning, the Town of Dickinson is reviewing the Planning Department as a whole, while moving forward with a new position — that of Director of Community Development.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Dickinson City Commission heard from human resources coordinator Shelly Nameniuk about how she had been tasked with creating a new position that combines the director of community development with the position of city engineer.

Acting City Administrator Dustin Dassinger and Nameniuk worked on the job description for this new position, which would report to the City Administrator and be responsible for development, construction and infrastructure expansion duties. the city and supervising the engineering, construction and city codes and planning departments, she said.

“This position provides expert advice, strategic planning and problem solving for complex urban issues, including but not limited to capital improvement planning, DOT urban road programming of the North Dakota, comprehensive planning, municipal infrastructure building standards, site planning, trail development, urban forestry planning, GIS or geographic information system, budgeting and forecasting, permits, compliance with environmental regulation and legislative presentation and media outreach,” Nameniuk said.

Commissioner Jason Fridrich asked if the city would be able to find an ideal candidate who has both an engineering background and planning experience.

“We never know until we try,” Nameniuk replied. “In my opinion, and everyone can speak for himself, but I don’t know if he has to be a planner; they just need to oversee the departments and make sure they are working collaboratively for the common goal of that development department.

Mayor Scott Decker agreed, adding that it would be beneficial for the city to post the job posting to see what is available. Dassinger chimed in, adding his mixed opinion on the importance of filling this position.

“This position is really designed to bring some cohesion between the planning department, engineering and the official building department in the future. I think there is room for improvement,” Dassinger said.

The commission debated the grade level at which the position would begin, discussing salary considerations. Nameniuk noted that in the 23rd year the cap would be $161,000 and if the position was graded at the 24th year level, it would be $177,000.

“I wouldn’t object to that person being under contract like the city administrator,” Decker said. “…It’s going to take a unique person to fill that.”

Fridrich added: “Having experience in all of these areas, I’m just not sure that person exists, but maybe there is someone out there.”

Fridrich recalled that there used to be a city engineer who looked after the development of the city and there was no planning department in place.

“When you brought in virgin land for development, you worked with the engineering department. When you were buying an existing structure that you wanted to repurpose for something else, you worked with the building department. We never had a planning before the oil boom,” he said. “…It was just like…you knew where you were going. Right now the way we’re doing it is everywhere. I think reassessment that Mr. Dassinger is talking about really needs to be looked at because no one really knows where to start… when they’re coming in right now.

Fridrich said he is not against this position, but wonders if the position demands too much of an individual.

“We don’t get the right person, we don’t hire them,” Decker said. “We don’t have to hire anyone.

Ahead of the committee’s discussion of the new engineer position, Dassinger provided an update on the planning department, noting that planning director Walter Hadley resigned from his position on June 3. At this time, Dassinger said they were reviewing and evaluating the department; Hadley’s duties were distributed among staff during this period.

Commissioner John Odermann, who joined the meeting via video conference, shared his thoughts on why the city should move forward with the position.

“We have to move on because it will be something we desperately need, especially with the new city administrator and things like that coming up. We really need to focus on the development of the city and with the departure of Mr. Hadley as city planner, we cannot blame everything on the city administrator,” Odermann said. “…Maybe we’re not getting applicants who actually meet the requirements of what we’re looking for…Maybe we’re finding that diamond in the rough that’s sitting over there and interested in doing some engineering work, but also community development work.”

Commissioner Suzi Sobolik proposed that the commission approve the job description for a 24th year and begin advertising the position. Odermann seconded the motion. In a roll-call vote, the committee adopted the motion unanimously.

Norma P. Rex