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Interim director promoted to oversee Pierce County planning and land use

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on Feb. 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm with No Comments »
February 26, 2012 10:37 am

The interim director of Pierce County’s Planning and Land Services has been selected to oversee the department.

After a nationwide search, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy appointed Dennis Hanberg Friday as director of the department, known by the acronym PALS.

Hanberg became interim director in the fall when Chuck Kleeberg resigned after 14 years as PALS’ director to work for the City of Seattle’s Public Utilities.

Hanberg was deputy director under Kleeberg. Hanberg has worked as an environmental health specialist, land-use planning consultant, business owner, commercial property owner and planning director. He has 29 years of experience with two enginnering firms.

McCarthy hired Hanberg in 2010 as a consultant to lead a study that resulted in a strategic plan to make PALS the state’s best permitting agency. He later was hired as deputy director.

“Dennis has the perfect blend of experience,” McCarthy said in a news release. “His work with PALS over the past two years has already resulted in significant changes that make the department more efficient and effective, even in the face of major budget cuts.”

His appointment must be confirmed by the Pierce County Council.

Here’s the news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 24, 2012

Executive taps Dennis Hanberg as planning director

Citing his vast experience in the private and public sectors, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected veteran planning and land use manager Dennis Hanberg to lead the Department of Planning and Land Services.

Hanberg has worked as an environmental health specialist, land-use planning consultant, business owner, commercial property owner and planning director. He has 29 years of experience with two engineering firms, including roles as owner and managing partner.

Executive McCarthy selected Hanberg after a nationwide search that vetted 40 applicants who have land-use management experience with cities, counties, states and private companies.

“Dennis has the perfect blend of experience,” the Executive said. “He has a deep understanding of planning and permits from the customer’s perspective. His work with PALS over the past two years has already resulted in significant changes that make the department more efficient and effective, even in the face of major budget cuts. I’m confident Dennis can reach the goal I set of creating the best permitting agency in Washington state.”

In 2010, Executive McCarthy hired Hanberg as a consultant to lead a study that resulted in the “Best Permitting Agency” strategic plan. He later was hired as a deputy director of the department, and he has served as interim director since last fall, when then-Director Chuck Kleeberg left for a job in Seattle.

“I appreciate the opportunity to keep working with Planning and Land Services staff and our customers to make the system more convenient and predictable,” Hanberg said. “We’ve made a number of improvements to our online system so that customers can apply for permits and track their progress. We also have streamlined the approval process and reduced the number of in-boxes that a permit application must pass through. More improvements are in the works.”

Hanberg will oversee a budget of $10.8 million and 76 employees. The department is responsible for reviewing building plans and applications, inspecting construction, enforcing building codes and ensuring compliance with federal and state requirements regarding growth management, shorelines and more.

His appointment is subject to confirmation by the County Council.

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