Former Washington Co. planning director to assume same title in Berkeley Co.

Michael C. Thompson said he wasn't ready to retire from work that he has done for nearly 35 years

July 28, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • In this 2005 Herald-Mail file photo, former Washington County Planning Director Michael C. Thompson is shown in stacks of building permits. The Berkeley County Council on Thursday hired Thompson as its next planning director.
Herald-Mail file photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council on Thursday hired the former director of planning and community development in Washington County as its next planning director.

In a brief phone interview after the council meeting, Michael C. Thompson, 62, of Hagerstown, said he simply wasn't ready to retire from work that he has done for nearly 35 years.

"I keep doing it," Thompson said, laughing. "I do enjoy it. It's a subject that most people are not immediately concerned with until it impacts them directly."

Thompson said he opted to retire from Washington County earlier this year after the county commissioners approved a reorganization plan and coupled it with an incentive package for eligible employees to retire.

The restructuring was part of a plan by the county to save money.

County Administrator Deborah Hammond said Thompson, because of his experience, was a leading candidate to replace former Planning Director Stefanie Allemong early on in the hiring process.

Thompson, who will be paid $55,000 annually, is expected to begin working for Berkeley County on Aug. 8.

Allemong, who resigned due to health concerns, was being paid $52,541 per year.

The county received 23 applications for the job from across the nation, and one of the three finalists interviewed via telephone from Florida, officials had said.

The fact that Berkeley County has a smaller department, but still is in a growing area was attractive to Thompson, the Silver Spring, Md., native said.

In Washington County, Thompson oversaw day-to-day operations of the planning department, Permits and Inspections Department and Gaming Commission, according to his résumé. The staff consisted of 60 people while Thompson was employed there. The county restructured the departments since Thompson left.

Thompson held the Washington County position for seven years beginning in May 2004. Before that, he worked as the zoning administrator and development review chief for Frederick County, Md., from 1985 to 2004.

Thompson's arrival will come as Berkeley County's only staff planner is scheduled to leave for another professional opportunity.

Matthew Pennington's resignation, effective Aug. 8, was accepted Thursday by council members.

Council President William L. "Bill" Stubblefield said efforts were being made to smooth the transitional period, but conceding the "timing was not the best" for the change in staff.

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