County community development director resigns | RecordCourier.com

County community development director resigns

by Susie Vasquez

Douglas County’s Community Development Director Mitch Dion is leaving April 26 to take a position as a water utility consultant with a local government in California, according to a Douglas County press release.

Dion took the position in September of 2005. In the time he worked here, he was a pivotal figure in debates concerning a number of contentious issues, like growth and water.

Doug Johnson, chairman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, said Dion had the most difficult job in Douglas County.

“I’m very disappointed that he’s leaving, but I support his decision,” Johnson said. “We want to raise the bar for development in Douglas County. That was the direction I gave to Mitch.”

He hopes to recruit someone with the same ideals and philosophy as Dion has, but knows it will be difficult.

County Manager Dan Holler said Dion was a real asset to Douglas County’s Community Development Department and will be missed.

“He provided a fresh perspective and creativity in addressing a variety of tough issues the county has faced regarding transportation, water and wastewater, drainage and development,” he said.

John Garvin, cochair of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee, said Dion is an even-handed, fair-minded person who was devoted to trying to resolve the growth issue in Douglas County.

Adoption of a growth ordinance, the first in Douglas County since it was suggested in the 1996 master plan, could be addressed at the April 5 meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

“County people worked for close to a year to put together an ordinance with the assistance of both Dion and (Deputy District Attorney) Tom Perkins,” Garvin said. “We’re unhappy that the key players for the county, people with a lot of talent, won’t be here to bring this effort to fruition.”

Adoption of a growth ordinance, the first in Douglas County since it was suggested in the 1996 master plan, could be addressed at the April 5 meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

Perkins is retiring in April.

In a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Dion has accrued more than 25 years of diversified leadership and management experience in both the public and private sector.

He served with the U.S. Marines from 1979 to 1992, starting his military career as a platoon commander at Camp Pendleton. He worked in a number of capacities during that time and when he left the Marines in September of 1992, he was director of facilities at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.

Dion has since worked as superintendent for the Tacoma Community College

District, water resources manager for the city of Lacey, Wa., and general manager/production director for the American Water Company in Sacramento, Calif.

More recently, he worked as a consultant for utilities, public agencies and consulting firms on engineering, operations and water resource issues.

Dion could not be reached for comment Friday.