Chelan County Planning Department understaffed, signs contract with consulting firm

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WENATCHEE- On April 2nd Chelan County’s planning director Hank Lewis resigned his position, leaving Chelan County Commissioners looking to fill the role for the short-staffed department.

“Quite honestly when we received the resignation we weren’t necessarily prepared for it at the time that it came but we’ve had some challenges we had been working through with community development,” said Commissioner Keith Goehner in an interview with NCWLIFE. “I’m hopeful that the direction we’re going right now will put us on a good path.”

Goehner said Lewis worked with the county for nearly two years.

The county signed a contract last week with a consulting firm to assist in planning for the next year in Lewis’ absence.

“We signed a contract with M2 Consulting, and that’s Mitch Reister who was previously our county engineer, he will be coming on board on April 30th in a consultant role,” Goehner said, adding that Reister’s background is not in planning. “He has shown himself to be a great organizational person so organizational management is really his strong suit and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Geohner said the county will continue to look to fill vacancies throughout the department.

“We do have some other vacancies and we may have a couple more that we’ll be looking to fill but they’ve been working diligently. The staff has really picked up the slack.”

Goehner said the department is flooded with permits, showing the interest in Chelan County.

“They are processing those permits, I think they’re really keeping it within a reasonable time frame as far as getting the permits out,” Goehner said. “We hope to have a couple more on staff in the near future.”