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Two Interim Hires for City Posts

Community Development Director, General Plan Manager vacancies filled with interim posts

City Manager Michael Frank announced today the hiring of Bob Brown and Anne Cronin Moore to fill two vacant city posts as interim hires. Jointly, they will assume the responsibilities of Dave Wallace, the City’s previous Community Development Director, who retired in December 2011.

Frank earlier floated the idea of replacing Wallace with two hires, saying “I think it might work best if I find two retired community development directors or city managers who have been through the planning and development pathway before.”

Both individuals named today have considerable of experience in the planning and community development field and will enable Novato to advance a number of goals and projects, according to a press release from the City of Novato.

Brown, the Interim Community Development Director, has worked in the municipal community development profession for over 33 years. Most recently, he served as the Community Development Director for the City of San Rafael. He has also served as the Community Development Director for the City of Milpitas and the Planning Chief for the City of San Mateo.

Moore, brought on as Interim General Plan Manager, has 35 years of experience as a planning professional in California, most of which she spent in Marin County. Since 1991, she has operated her own consulting firm where she served as a project manager for numerous planning projects. Moore has also managed the General Plan updates as an interim Community Development/Planning Director for the Cities of Palo Alto and St. Helena.

Currently, she is managing the General Plan update as the part‐time Interim Planning Director for the City of Larkspur.

City Manager Frank stated, “Bob and Anne share the City’s interest‐based problem solving approach to foster community involvement. The Community Development Department has a number of important projects, such as the General Plan update, and we believe that Bob and Anne are the right individuals to move these projects to completion.”

Eleanor Sluis February 23, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Bob, like you, I enjoy hiking. The dilemma is the baggage one carries when they work for a city. I carry baggage because of my “preserve Novato” views. With all due respect, I think that working for San Rafael and only abiding by their policies to build up and increase densities means to me that “high-density baggage” and loads of public relation’s mantras of what is good for businesses comes with you, not what is best for our community, . I want a community director who either has worked with our community or a similar small town or has studied about the advantages of keeping a small town vital without high-density. One who is more in tune with the low-density, parks, trees, and our workers, players and thinkers. Too many outside groups have changed Novato in ways that even caught the city council off guard. See the huge, six story Mill Works, Whole Foods, 125 complex and the 61 units being built on Diablo for low-income people each with adding additional cars and need for money to maintain streets, storm drains, and schools. It is a vicious cycle and a dilemma. Therefore, I favor fewer units, which are a better fit for Novato’s vision and budget. Neighborhood groups of San Marin, Balanced Housing, Hamilton, Novato Alliance, Pachecho Valley, downtown residents, and Partridge Knolls are fighting for this plan. If you do not fight for the residents, who will?
Lloyd February 23, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I understand Bob Brown has many years of experience. His statement that he won't be involved in our planning, zoning, housing element and general plan does not ring true. Why else would he be hired to co-direct the department in charge of precisely that effort. He has publicly stated his desire to have Novato give up it's efforts for a suburban housing element and urged us to bow down and accept HCD & ABAG's 30 units plus density bonus as our responsibility. He is huge advocate of the "one bay area" strategy for high density PDA's,the "one size fits all" conformity that the state is trying to brainwash us with. If I'm not mistaken believes Novato should follow San Rafael's vision with a San Rafael type super high density transit oriented downtown. He has advocated for San Rafael the shifting of RHNA affordable housing requirement responsibility from San Rafael to Novato. There is a huge difference between affordable housing and high density development. I do not fault Mr. Brown for his opinions and visions. What I find unfathomable is Mr Frank's seeming slap in the face of so many that worked on his working group and the total disregard of the goals set out in the recent letter to ABAG from our City Council. Bob Brown has openly stated his visions and views. It is beyond my understanding how he could do anything but be true to his own self and continue to influence and advocate his views. It is naive and dishonest to believe anyone would do otherwise.
Lloyd February 23, 2012 at 05:11 PM
The City Council needs to assume it's leadership position and deny the affirmation of Mr. Brown. It isn't a vote of non confidence in his experience but simply common sense in avoiding putting all of us in a no win situation. Mr Frank's should widen his search. The last thing Novato needs is the baggage that this appointment will bring. We have turned the corner and have moved forward with a consensus of how we want to accomplish our housing element. Unfortunately through no fault of his own Mr Brown has been put in the cross hairs, and his appointment can only be seen as three steps back into a divisive turmoil. I urge the Council to follow a smart positive course forward and avoid this needless quagmire.
Tina McMillan February 23, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Bob Brown In your letter dated May 24, 2011, to Community Development Director, Dave Wallace, you stated that Novato would not receive state certification without designating a minimum of 30+ units per acre (with the additional AH density bonuses). You indicated that in your experience as a city planner that anything short of this would lead to costly legal action and that regardless of how unpopular it was, the council should move forward with the higher density designation. If this is what you genuinely believe, why should we expect any different attitude once you are on staff? Your position as an affordable housing activist is well stated online when reading about the projects you endorsed, the groups that you belong to and your political position concerning city planning, climate change and the One Bay Area Plan.
Tina McMillan February 23, 2012 at 08:43 PM
We need a community development director that shares our vision of a city capable of supporting its residents. We currently have a $2.5 million dollar structural budget deficit and only 5% of our land zoned commercial. As we add more housing without needed property taxes we fall further and further into debt. High density means lots of people in a small space. If you look at Bob's work in San Rafael he was able to increase density bonuses on one project by 62%. This is not about aesthetics. It is about supporting the families that live within the city by providing needed services to everyone. The One Bay Area vision creates a much denser, more populated Marin county with a significant portion of the new housing being moved from San Rafael to Novato. San Rafael accepted MTC funding. Novato did not. This was done with the support of Mr. Brown. How are we to believe that his point of view has suddenly changed from everything he has represented in the past thirty years? Why would we take the chance when we could hire someone else?

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