TRPA begins search for new executive director
LAKE TAHOE BASIN ” Less than a week after John Singlaub resigned as executive director for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the organization could begin discussing his replacement.
Singlaub resigned as executive director Friday, writing that he fulfilled his commitment to stay on the job for five years and citing the “relentlessly grinding” nature of the position in a letter to governing board.
Singlaub also wrote that he thought the timing is right for his departure because of a major turnover in the 15-member board this month.
“The issues TRPA confronted in 2004 are very different than those we face today, and I think it is appropriate to let this new board select an executive director they believe is the right person for those new challenges,” Singlaub added.
His resignation becomes effective Feb. 28; he was named to the post in October 2003.
Singlaub sent out a notice to staff on Sunday following news reports of his decision, said TRPA spokesman Dennis Oliver.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board will not be able to take any action regarding filling the spot. It may broach the topic to discuss preliminary details or may create a committee to handle the process.
The TRPA is a bi-state land-use regulatory agency charged with protecting Lake Tahoe, and Singlaub was often caught between competing interests of environmentalists and developers. Most recently, the agency’s shorezone ordinances, which regulate development along Lake Tahoe’s shore including how many piers and buoys are allowed, have come under fire.
There is no time limit for the board to appoint a new director. In the meantime the board can appoint an interim director from the current staff, Board Chair Allen Biaggi said.
“Then it’s up to the board to evaluate if we look for someone internally or if we need to have a local, regional or national search,” Biaggi said.
However, the agency’s finances might dictate the extent of the search.
“Money is very tight,” Biaggi said. “We’re going to have to watch our dollars. I sense we are not going to be able to hire extensive contractors to find candidates.”
The process to replace Singlaub will be a board effort, Biaggi stressed.
“The board is going to find the best fit of an executive director and get the best person for the job, be that someone internally or externally,” he said.
El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago, who represents the county on the TRPA Governing Board, said Singlaub would be “sorely missed.”
“John has added a lot in moving the organization in the direction it needed to go during his tenure,” Santiago said. “He has a very, very strong commitment to the protection of this lake.”
Santiago said the Governing Board would likely form a selection committee at its Wednesday meeting to begin looking for Singlaub’s successor.
The ideal candidate would have excellent communication skills and be able to build partnerships with others in the community, she said, including conservation groups and businesses.
“We need someone who can help foster those relationships,” Santiago said. “Understand that we are all in this together.”
During his performance review in November 2007, some board members complained about Singlaub’s management and communication skills.
Also during his tenure, TRPA emerged as a favorite target for those seeking to assign blame for the Angora fire in June 2007, which destroyed 254 homes in South Lake Tahoe.
Some homeowners accused the agency of dragging its feet on projects to reduce the wildfire threat at Tahoe. Singlaub has said he was shocked by the public backlash.
In his letter, Singlaub said he now plans to spend time with family and friends, as well as ski, kayak and hike at Tahoe.
The board meets today at 9:30 a.m. at the Chateau at 955 Fairway Blvd. in Incline Village. More formal action on Singlaub’s replacement may come at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting.
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