County planning chief quits
El Dorado County Development Services Director Greg Fuz has decided to call it quits, leaving his position on Dec. 18.
“Sometimes it’s time for a change,” said Fuz, 47.
Fuz submitted his letter of resignation last week, Chief Administrative Officer Laura Gill confirmed. He has worked for the county for nearly three years.
“It has been a pleasure; it has been a challenge,” said Fuz, who will be taking some time off to spend with family before starting a new job with the city of Pleasant Hill. “I really enjoyed being here. Some days were harder than others.”
Development Services, a department traditionally funded by fees in most areas, became a glitch in El Dorado County’s budget after permit revenue from single-family home development dropped sharply beginning at the end of fiscal year 2005-06.
In fiscal year 2006-07 Development Services faced a $1.2 million deficit in its Building Services Division as the housing market continued to fizzle.
To offset the loss, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved a fee increase in June. After more bad budget news this fall, six employees were laid off and six unfilled positions were cut.
“If we have to cut any more its going to be devastating to the organization,” said Fuz during the September budget discussions.
Last week Fuz, while discussing more budget issues, told the Mountain Democrat he’s lost more than 20 employees since June to retirements, layoffs and other issues. Gill gave direction to all department heads to compile cost-cutting ideas as revenues, once again, are expected to drop.
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors backed up Gills request of department heads during a budget discussion. Should numbers stay static, Development Services could see a $330,000 drop in expected revenue.
It’s a concern but theres still a lot of opportunity to see those numbers change, Fuz said prior to the announcement of his resignation. He also said staff is updating projection figures constantly to keep the budget accurate.
Supervisor Helen Baumann said she was disappointed in Fuz’s decision to leave at this time.
“It’s a hard time,” Baumann said. “Like all other jurisdictions were trying to make ends meet.”
Baumann said she would like to use this time between department heads to evaluate Development Services and streamline processes.
“We have some capable staff there to keep things moving forward,” Baumann said.
Fuz began working for El Dorado County in January 2005 shortly after a county government reorganization put Planning Services and Building Services, along with some aspects of Environmental Management and the Department of Transportation, into one department.
In April 2005 Fuz spoke to the Mountain Democrat about his vision for the new department.
“It’s all about service,” Fuz said. “I would like to see service emphasized by the organization and it be recognized by our customers.”
To put that goal into action the county set up a permit center in Building C and staff prepared to handle the expected flood of development applications after all General Plan legal matters were settled.
During Fuz’s tenure with the county, more than 1,000 applications for development were processed by Planning Services and more than 4,000 permits were issued for new construction, including major projects such as Town Center East in El Dorado Hills. Most recently, Fuz and his staff have been focusing on helping Angora fire victims expedite reconstruction of their homes. Permits to replace nearly a quarter of
the structures that were destroyed have already been issued.
To continue that goal and the wishes of the Board of Supervisors, Fuz wrote in his resignation letter, “I will have a detailed list of the status of all board policy projects ready before I leave.”
After Fuz submitted his letter of resignation Gill said, “I appreciated Greg’s effort to pull two departments together into one. Whenever I needed help on a multi-departmental effort he was always one of the first to volunteer. I enjoyed working with very much and wish him nothing but the best.”