Better late than never.
Seven months into his administration, Governor John deJongh is making the first concrete effort on his campaign promise to hire a city planner for St. John. While deJongh had promised residents a planner would be hired in the first quarter of his administration, it might come true in the second quarter.
Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials have released a job posting advertising for the position.
The posting, for a Senior Planner Position, requires “knowledge of the principles, practices and methods used in urban planning; knowledge of development related issues and concerns; the practical aspects of zoning; and project management and organizational principles.”
There is no information about the salary for the position and education requirements were vague, requiring, “any combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, social science, geography or closely related field.”
Two years experience in community development operations or planning was also requested in the job posting, which also stated “a graduate degree in urban planning is preferable.”
Inquiries regarding the position should be made to DPNR’s Director of Comprehensive and Coastal Zone Planning Dr. Wanda Mills-Bocachica, who was not available for comment last week.
A city planner is necessary to address numerous issues which affect the island, explained St. John Administrator Leona Smith.
“It is very important that we get a city planner and get these projects — like a new location for a school and a parking garage — moving,” said Smith. “I don’t know how long it will take before we fill that position.”
St. John Resident Needed
The job should go to someone who lives on St. John, Smith added.
“Hopefully the position will be filled by someone on St. John,” she said. “We need someone who knows first hand about the problems like parking, the relocation of the school and what is left of government properties in terms of leases. Should we lease the remaining government property on St. John, which is not much.”
While problems regarding the salary for the position continue to linger, Smith is excited to have a city planner on board working to solve some long-standing issues.
“I am looking forward to working with this person,” said Smith. “I think there was a problem with the pay, so I hope they work that out. We must make sure that the person is getting the right salary so we can get someone with high qualifications.”
For more information regarding the city planner position contact Mills-Bocachica at 774-3320, extension 5182.