West Palm Beach's development chief hired for Palm Beach County post [The Palm Beach Post, Fla.]
(Palm Beach Post (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 10--WEST PALM BEACH -- Doug Wise, the city's development services director, is stepping down to serve as building division director for Palm Beach County.
Wise leaves as the building and planning departments he oversees have seen an uptick in activity with the improving economy.
While the future of the development services department is in flux, on Wednesday the city added three code enforcement hires, which neighborhood leaders have been demanding for more than a year. The city was down to eight code officers following a recent retirement of a north-end code officer but was able to replace the retired officer and add two -- one in the south end and one in the north end. The two new positions pay roughly $35,000 to $40,000 each.
The city now has two code enforcement officers south of Okeechobee Boulevard and three code officers from 26th Street to the city limits at 59th Street from the Intracoastal Waterway west to Australian Avenue.
"Now they can be a little bit more proactive than reactive," said code enforcement manager Mark Joyce. "The area was so big that all we could basically do was chase complaints. Now with the new officers they'll have more time to patrol the area and look for issues as they come up before we receive a complaint."
Joyce said the biggest complaints from residents included neighbors' overgrown lawns and unsecured, abandoned or neglected bank-owned homes.
Wise, who earned a base salary of $108,150, said he will leave the city on Jan. 25. He will earn $120,377 at the county.
In a letter to his department, Wise said planning manager Rick Greene will act as interim department services director and that he will recommend Greene be named permanently to the position.
But city officials said Wednesday that nothing has been determined, either in the interim or beyond.
City Administrator Ed Mitchell said the city is analyzing how to structure the department, but he said the city will likely keep building, planning and code enforcement functions together, as one department. Mayor Jeri Muoio merged the departments after taking office in 2011.
"Doug was a very strong manager and a lot of cultural changes over there helped the development community," Mitchell said.
Muoio said in a statement that "Doug led his department through a difficult time of reduced construction activity as well as cutbacks and staff reductions, and was able to not only improve customer service, but significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to review a developer's permit application."
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