TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub resigns |

TRPA Executive Director John Singlaub resigns

Martin Griffith
The Associated Press
and Elaine Goodman
Bonanza News Service
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneSinglaub's resignation letter was submitted Friday to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board Chair Allen Biaggi; a copy of it was obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ” John Singlaub has resigned as executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, saying he’s fulfilled his commitment to stay on the job for five years and citing the “relentlessly grinding” nature of the position.

Singlaub’s resignation letter was submitted Friday to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board Chair Allen Biaggi.

In it, Singlaub said he lived up to a pledge to stay in the job for five years, and thinks the timing is right for his departure because of a major turnover in the 15-member board this month.

“As previous executive directors have experienced, the position is relentlessly grinding on the individual who sits at the helm of TRPA, both mentally and physically,” he wrote.

“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,” he added.

His resignation becomes effective Feb. 28; he was named to the post in

October 2003.

Singlaub had planned to announce his resignation to TRPA staff Monday, but sent out a notice to staff on Sunday following news reports of his decision, said TRPA spokesman Dennis Oliver.

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.

Rochelle Nason, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, was

surprised Sunday to hear of Singlaub’s resignation.

“We did not agree with John’s policy of intensifying development in the basin, but we admired his commitment to Lake Tahoe,” Nason told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

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.”

Singlaub’s resignation came the same week that Tim Leslie, a California governor appointee to the TRPA Governing Board, and former California legislator, resigned his position. Leslie cited philosophical conflicts with some board members over development projects for his resignation.

Leslie said that Singlaub’s resignation had nothing to do with his own. He described Singlaub as a centrist who tried to move various projects forward despite resistance.

“I was surprised by John’s resignation,” Leslie said Sunday. “I thought he did a good job in a tough environment. He has the kind of job you can’t win no matter what you do. You’re either giving everything to the development community or to the environmental community. It’s very difficult.”

Leslie said while he heard criticism of Singlaub from some board members, he thinks Singlaub resigned on his own.

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.

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