PLAINVILLE — A dedicated economic development director has been hired following the resignation of Mark DeVoe, who served as both the conduit for businesses and the town’s planning director.
Cal Hauburger, who has worked as an intern in Town Manager Robert Lee’s office for the past two years, will fill the roll, while Assistant Planner and Land Use Administrator Garrett Daigle has been promoted to be the town planner.
Lee said despite them both being recent college graduates, they had shown initiative and capability, particularly in bringing town services online. They will be serving as interim directors for their first six months, similar to a probationary period, at the end of which they will meet with Lee to decide if they are the right fit to permanently fill the positions.
“They’re not going to be able to act as independent as Mark did...both of them are going to have to check in with my office to make sure that they’re addressing issues properly,” he said. “But I think it’s worth it because of the talents and personalities – I think they’re the right fit for Plainville.”
DeVoe resigned in December after 10 years of working in Plainville to become Middletown’s planning director. The position not only afforded him the opportunity to work in a larger municipality, but also to focus on his preeminent expertise in planning.
Hauburger started working as in intern in Lee’s office in October 2016 while obtaining his master’s in public administration from Fairfield University and was originally responsible for answering phones and doing general customer service work. Lee said he stepped up and proved himself while doing budget research and working on projects to bring building permit applications and registration for recreation department programs online.
"Times are changing and citizen needs are changing and so where possible I would like to try to increase efficiency," Hauburger said.
After his first official day on Feb. 1, Hauburger said his focus will be on continuing his predecessor’s work in redeveloping the former site of White Oak Construction next to the Town Hall.
“Fifty years ago the downtown area was the place to be for retails, restaurants, shopping. It was really a hub of cultural and merchant activity. And I think that the White Oak property could be instrumental in getting back to that in some form," he said.
Even though Hauburger’s position is newly created, their compensation will remain below what was being spent on the combined planning and economic development department. Daigle’s position as the assistant planner is being eliminated, since the department’s workload will be reduced without the economic development aspect.
Hauburger’s salary will be $55,000, while Daigle will receive $61,000, up from almost $57,000 as the assistant planner. DeVoe was receiving $94,000 at the time of his resignation, Lee said.
A few months after graduating from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in geography specializing in planning, Daigle was hired to fill the newly created assistant town planner in September 2016.
"I didn't expect a promotion like this so soon in my career. I only started a few years ago, but I was under Mark (DeVoe) and he was a really good teacher and I think that definitely helped with their decision process," Daigle said.
He’s picking up the reins mid-way through the drafting of the town’s 10 year plan of conservation and development, a state-mandated project which details the municipality’s goals for preserving open space while setting goals for development. Once the plan is complete, Daigle intends to use it as a guideline for creating or modifying ordinances and regulations to help spur commercial activity.
Lee said Daigle has already shown himself to be capable with the work he’s done implementing the town’s geographical information system, which allows residents to view an interactive map of the town with information from the planning and assessing departments. “He has jumped right in and has done a very good job as the assistant planner,” he said. “I think that he was ready to step up to the position.”
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