City splits department, names two to head new divisions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Salisbury City Manager David Treme has split the former Land Management and Development Department into two new departments.
Dan Mikkelson, former director of Land Management and Development, will head the new Engineering and Development Services Department.
Joe Morris will head a new department taking in Planning and Community Development, GIS and Code Services.
Both Mikkelson and Morris are veteran members of Treme’s management team.
Previously, the Land Management and Development Department had four divisions: Engineering, Planning and Community Development, Development Services and GIS. Over the past six months a new division, Code Services, was added.
“The department just got too big,” Mikkelson said.
Morris, who had been heading Planning and Community Development, spent considerable time working on the city’s new Land Development Ordinance. Once the ordinance was adopted and working, it freed up Morris’ time to take on extra duties.
Mikkelson said he can now spend more time in the development review process. He especially will be working on a Salisbury City Council goal of acquiring local permitting authority for water and sewer permits.
Now when the city reviews submittals for water and sewer permits, it must forward the information to the state, which has the final permitting authority. The state review, particularly on the water permit, can take an extra six to eight weeks.
Mikkelson said the state review has never picked up on anything the city didn’t find in its review.
“It was a delay not adding any value to the review process,” Mikkelson said.
Mikkelson said one of his first goals will be to gain certification from the state, so the water and sewer permits can be authorized by the city.
“That will be a big part of my focus,” he said.
Treme also will be looking more to Mikkelson for counsel, much like he once bounced ideas off former Assistant City Manager Foster Owen, who has retired.
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Mikkelson said.

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