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3/17/2015
Fogarty to step down as NCCo land use general manager - News Journal

County Councilman Bob Weiner, a land use attorney and former chairman of the National Association of Counties’ Smart Growth committee, said Fogarty created a path forward for the department.

“One of her last challenges will be helping to identify a replacement that has the dedication to transparency, fairness and respect for community character that she offered during her two years in the office,” he said.

 

Fogarty to step down as NCCo land use general manager

Scott Goss, The News Journal

Eileen Fogarty announced Tuesday that she plans to step down as New Castle County’s land use general manager this spring after less than two years on the job.

Fogarty notified individual county councilmembers of her decision late yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours after first discussing the matter with county executive Tom Gordon.

Her last day is expected to come in early May, although an exact date has not been set.

Fogarty said she feels has accomplished what she set out to do when she accepted the nearly $140,000-a-year position and now wants to spend more time with her husband, 77-year-old artist John Clendenning.

“Little by little, I’ve come to realize there is never going to be a moment … that I want to [stop working],” the 68-year-old said. “But I’ve come to realize that if I’m ever going to do any traveling with my husband, if I’m going to have a next phase in life, I have to do it now or I’m not going to do it.”

Gordon said the county would begin advertising the job opening this week, with the goal of having Fogarty’s successor in place before she departs.

“This has caught me off guard and I can tell you that finding her replacement is really going to be an impossible task,” he said. “It’s going to be tough but I’m going to ask her to help me find somebody.”

A former director of planning and community development for small cities in California and Virginia, Fogarty was appointed to the county job in September 2013.

Since then, she has created new planning, transportation and design sections in the department, developed the department’s first strategic action plan, undertaken a reworking of the county’s Unified Development Code, created a concept review phase for proposed rezonings, streamlined the permitting process for “job-rich” projects and encouraged more cooperation with the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Under Fogarty, the department also has undertaken a number of land-use planning studies – currently in various stages of completion. Fogarty also has conducted an extensive outreach effort with civic, business and nonprofits groups to encourage their input earlier in the rezoning and development processes.

“When I took the job, the county had a lot of piecemeal development and there was disinvestment in several of the corridors,” she said. “I told Tom Gordon I felt I could get the department on the right path in the year and half and I think I’ve done that … by systematically bringing in projects that contribute to the community and the quality of life.”

Not everyone has been pleased with Fogarty’s tenure, however.

Vic Singer, a board member with the Civic League for New Castle County since the 1960s, her outreach to citizens’ groups did not prevent her from also seeking to withhold public information, particularly regarding the ongoing update to the county’s unified development code.

“Eileen, over the past several months, has displayed a predilection for conducting public business in private and I believe her modus operandi is different than what [the Freedom of Information Act] and her oath of office demand,” he said. “I’m happy to see her go.”

Meanwhile, Tom Dewson, a member of the Save Our County Coalition that sued the county over the rezoning of Barley Mill, called Fogarty extremely knowledgeable and deeply principled.

“I’m saddened to hear Eileen is leaving county government,” he said. “She is an accomplished professional and timeless champion for responsible land use and will be deeply missed.”

County Councilman Bob Weiner, a land use attorney and former chairman of the National Association of Counties’ Smart Growth committee, said Fogarty created a path forward for the department.

“One of her last challenges will be helping to identify a replacement that has the dedication to transparency, fairness and respect for community character that she offered during her two years in the office,” he said.

Contact Scott Goss at (302) 324-2281 or email sgoss@delawareonline.com. On Twitter: @ScottGossDel

 

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