TRPA chief gets thumbs up and thumbs down
The board of Tahoe’s planning agency was unanimous on one point Wednesday: No one envies a man with 15 bosses.And with new laws in Nevada mandating public officials receive public job reviews, envy was in even shorter supply by the end of the day at the North Lake Tahoe Conference Center.Tahoe Regional Planning Agency executive director John Singlaub received overwhelming praise from many of his 15 bosses that make up the agencys governing board, a lack of comment from others, and a clear indication of disappointment from one.Chairman Allen Biaggi, who is also the director of Nevada’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said Singlaub has taken on some big challenges since he came to the agency, including the revamp of Tahoe’s regional plan and reigniting shorezone regulations stagnant for 20 years.This is a phenomenally difficult job, Biaggi said. You are never going to make everyone happy.Presidential appointee Stuart Yount praised Singlaub for addressing a permit system that was operating at a snail’s pace.John realized early on that one of the first things to do to change the public perception of TRPA was to get the permit department fully staffed, Yount said.Singlaub reported there were only eight permits overdue this month. In the past, it was not uncommon for building permits to lag for several years.The agency was recently allocated California funds to buy an automated permit processing system. Singlaub thanked California Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, and Senator Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, for helping secure that.Part of my interest in getting that part of our house in order was to allow us to talk about other issues, Singlaub said.Others praised Singlaub for his accessibility.I get a lot of comments from local constituents, said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Smith. They are very appreciative of the fact that he makes himself available.Several board members urged Singlaub to work on better communication with them when it comes to relaying the agency’s position to the press.Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz was still steaming over Singlaub’s comments to the media supporting public acquisition of Homewood Mountain Resort. The resort recently sold to a private party.I was a bureaucrat for 30 years, Kranz said. I know what it means to make decisions without direction from a board. The executive director has to consider the fact that he has a board and needs to take direction from that board.Singlaub successfully lobbied the board for a 4 percent raise in his annual salary of $124,000 and a 20 percent increase in his monthly automobile allowance from $500 to $600.The TRPA is a 15-member board comprising seven members from each state, California and Nevada, and a non-voting presidential appointee.
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