Harwich community development director Idman leaves for Brewster

HARWICH — April 29 was the last day of work for Director of Community Planning and Development, Jon Idman. Idman takes his talents across town to Brewster, where he will serve as city planner.

Idman was director of community planning and development in Harwich for a year. Previously, he was the Regulatory Director of the Cape Cod Commission for eight years and holds a law degree from Penn State.

When Idman, who grew up and lives in Harwich, was hired last April, there was a change in the job description from town planner to director of planning and community development. The new position served as the department’s “main advocate”, but not as a director-director. The director was responsible for coordinating the activities of the department and included the tasks of the town planner, the supervision of planning, the collaboration with the town planning board, the drafting of reports and the implementation of the local master plan.

Idman said last Friday that after a year, it was clear the position and his role in the organization was a little different from what he expected. In the current role, the director does not manage; who comes from administration, assigned to Deputy City Administrator Meggan Eldredge.

“It was a little hard to get it to work,” Idman said.

Idman said he took stock of where he was and whether the position met his expectations and admitted there were organizational frustrations. He said he likes what he sees in Brewster with the amount of land use activity going on in the town, including with the town’s purchase of the Sea Camp property. He also said there was more support and resources to address land use issues in the community.

The compensation is much higher in Brewster than in Harwich, he added.

“I enjoyed working with everyone at Harwich. It’s not a personal matter at all,” Idman said. The city must continue to assess what organization it wants to be and what it needs to adopt to get where it wants to be, he said.

Idman’s departure comes at a time when the community is about to embark on a lengthy review and update of its local comprehensive plan. The selectors are in the process of appointing members to the local planning committee, which will work on the project with the planning board and consultants over the next two years.

The local comprehensive plan is a land use plan expressing visions and goals, Idman said. It will focus on open spaces, economic and community development, infrastructure, capital assets, housing, water resources, transportation, habitat, sustainability and climate change.

In an email, City Administrator Joseph Powers wrote that the city “has not yet advertised the position of Director of Community Planning and Development as standard operating procedure is to conduct a brief analysis to determine if changes are contemplated in the job description, administration structure, or similar.The process begins once the position is vacated, which has not yet occurred at the time of this writing.

It has been nearly a year since municipal engineer Griffin Ryder left Harwich to become director of the DPW in Brewster. A new municipal engineer has not been hired; instead, $100,000 was approved to hire a consulting engineering firm.

Idman will start his new position at Brewster on May 9. It is the same day that Chief Financial Officer Carol Coppola will leave her post in Harwich to become Chief Financial Officer of Barnstable County. Powers said the city has received several applications following the posting, but the review process has not yet been completed.

“I expect the review process to be completed after the annual municipal meeting,” Powers said.

HARWICH — April 29 was the last day of work for Director of Community Planning and Development, Jon Idman. Idman takes his talents across town to Brewster, where he will serve as city planner.

Idman was director of community planning and development in Harwich for a year. Previously, he was the Regulatory Director of the Cape Cod Commission for eight years and holds a law degree from Penn State.

When Idman, who grew up and lives in Harwich, was hired last April, there was a change in the job description from town planner to director of planning and community development. The new position served as the department’s “main advocate”, but not as a director-director. The director was responsible for coordinating the activities of the department and included the tasks of the town planner, the supervision of planning, the collaboration with the town planning council, the drafting of reports and the implementation of the overall local plan.

Idman said last Friday that after a year, it was clear the position and his role in the organization was a little different from what he expected. In the current role, the director does not manage; who comes from administration, assigned to Deputy City Administrator Meggan Eldredge.

It was a bit difficult to get it to work,” Idman said.

Idman said he took stock of where he was and whether the position met his expectations and admitted there were organizational frustrations. He said he likes what he sees in Brewster with the amount of land use activity going on in the town, including with the town’s purchase of the Sea Camp property. He also said there was more support and resources to address land use issues in the community.

The compensation is much higher in Brewster than in Harwich, he added.

I enjoyed working with everyone at Harwich. It’s not a personal matter at all,” Idman said. The city must continue to assess what organization it wants to be and what it needs to adopt to get where it wants to be, he said.

Idman’s departure comes at a time when the community is about to embark on a lengthy review and update of its local comprehensive plan. The selectors are in the process of appointing members to the local planning committee, which will work on the project with the planning board and consultants over the next two years.

The local comprehensive plan is a land use plan expressing visions and goals, Idman said. It will focus on open spaces, economic and community development, infrastructure, capital assets, housing, water resources, transportation, habitat, sustainability and climate change.

In an email, City Administrator Joseph Powers wrote that the city “has not yet advertised the position of Director of Planning and Community Development as standard operating procedure is to conduct a brief analysis to determine if changes are contemplated in the job description, administration structure, or similar.The process begins once the position is vacated, which has not yet occurred at the time of this writing.

It has been nearly a year since municipal engineer Griffin Ryder left Harwich to become director of the DPW in Brewster. A new municipal engineer has not been hired; instead, $100,000 was approved to hire a consulting engineering firm.

Idman will start his new position at Brewster on May 9. It is the same day that Chief Financial Officer Carol Coppola will leave her post in Harwich to become Chief Financial Officer of Barnstable County. Powers said the city has received several applications following the posting, but the review process has not yet been completed.

I expect the review process to be completed after the annual municipal meeting,” Powers said.

Norma P. Rex