Kitty Brown broke ranks with the remainder of the town council in voting against hiring Ken for this newly-minted, $41,000 a year part-time job (although at those rates, I seriously should consider working part-time for the town myself). She was concerned that only two candidates had been interviewed for the position, one that would wield considerable influence over the town's comprehensive plan. Toni Hokanson poo-pooed Kitty's misgivings, saying that she ran ads in several papers and advertised it on the planner's web site, so two candidates was all they were going to get.
According to Toni, they're just waiting for the green light from the town's Ethics Committee, since Ken plans on keeping up his real estate license. After all, Town Planner is only a part-time job worth about $60,000 a year with benefits, so Ken will need to do what has to do in order to keep food on the table.
Now I know Ken, and it's very likely that he is qualified to do the job. I do have a couple of questions, though.
- Did you think about a consultant? What's the rush to hire a new town employee when professional planners can be hired on an as-needed basis? The village uses Greenplan, a professional planning firm right in New Paltz, and there are probably a few others in the area that could be hired for big projects, or even on retainer.
- He wants to keep his real estate license? Are you kidding me? Why was this even brought up for a vote? I might not have voted for Ken even if he had already given up his license, because his perspective and experience are focused on land-as-investment. This is an important consideration for a businessman, but a municipal planner must consider issues in a broader context. If the Ethics Committee decides Ken doesn't need to give up his license, someone needs to take a long, hard look at our local laws.
- $41K and benefits is a part time job? I can hear Toni now explaining that the town needs to be competitive. I don't buy it. At the very least you need to find enough work to keep your planner busy for forty hours a week. I don't care if he's unbending staples, Toni, just keep him at his desk for forty hours. I'll bet Paul Brown is qualified to do that job, and he doesn't have a degree in Urban Planning, and he's at town hall for close to forty hours a week for free.