Grand County building, planning, other departments to be combined |

Grand County building, planning, other departments to be combined

Hank Shell

The Grand County Board of Commissioners has decided to move forward with combining the county building, planning, economic development and GIS departments into a single “community development” department.

The move could save the county $61,000 next year, said Lurline Underbrink Curran, county manager, as well as make the departments “more efficient and more effective.”

The savings would come from eliminating the position of director from the planning and building departments.

The county building department has been without a director since Robert Scott Penson resigned in June following a scandal in which $500,000 in department funds was misappropriated. Former employee Brigid Irish has been charged in connection to the case. Commissioner in-waiting Kris Manguso will leave her position as planning director to take office in January.

“This is quite a big task for us to take on, and we believe we can do it, but we needed to have some time to figure it out.”
Lurline Underbrink Curran
Grand County manager

The four departments will become sub-departments within the community development department, Curran said, with Assistant County Manager Edward Moyer acting as department head.

The new structure would also allow for more cross training between departments, she said.

The county will revisit the move in a year to determine whether the restructuring has been successful.

“This is quite a big task for us to take on, and we believe we can do it, but we needed to have some time to figure it out,” she said.

The assistant county manager will continue to help with “daily administration responsibilities” in the county manager’s office, while also overseeing the new community development department, according to a memorandum from the county manager’s office to the board of county commissioners.

The county will also hire a new senior planner, Curran said

The community development department will be responsible for transportation and event coordination as well, according to the memo.

departments returning to past structure

In the past, the building and planning departments were combined under a department of development, Curran said.

County commissioners felt the time was right to revisit the restructuring of those departments because of the current shift in departmental leadership, she said.

The commissioners were given two options for restructuring at their Sept. 2 meeting. The first placed the assistant county manager in the position of director for the new department, while the second involved hiring a new director for the community development department.

Commissioners James Newberry and Merrit Linke decided to move forward with the first option because the second involved a new hire, which would offset the savings from eliminating the two positions. Commission Gary Bumgarner was absent.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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