The Shenandoah County government department handling land development lost another employee last week when planner Jill Jefferson quit her position in the Office of Community Development.
Jefferson submitted her letter of resignation Wednesday. She appeared before the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission at their respective meetings Thursday to speak about the Agricultural and Forestal Districts and a proposed bed and breakfast.
Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass confirmed by email Tuesday that Jefferson tendered her resignation Wednesday. When asked by email for information on plans for the office, Vass said only that “The county is actively recruiting for the vacancy.”
Vass did not respond in the email when asked if Jefferson had expressed any “frustration with the direction of the department, its leadership or to the attitude towards development rules in general.”
Joyce Fadeley resigned from the Office of Community Development in October 2017 under pressure, according to Shenandoah County officials and a complaint she later filed in circuit court. Fadeley worked for the county for 10 years and served as the county’s zoning and subdivision administrator before she resigned. Fadeley now works in land development services for Prince William County.
Brian Henshaw resigned in mid-July 2018 as director of planning and zoning for the county after working in the post for roughly eight months. Henshaw was the third person to lead the department in roughly three years up to that point. Bradley Polk led the department prior to Henshaw when its responsibilities included economic development. Polk had replaced Brandon Davis, who oversaw the office as the county reduced its staff during the downturn in development and the housing market.
The department operated without a director until late February when Vass announced that the county had abandoned its efforts to fill the position. Instead, county administration decided to select Building Official Mark Griffey as leader of the Office of Community Development with a new title, coordinator of community development, to reflect his additional responsibilities, Vass said in late February.
Vass informed department employees of the decision in an internal memorandum dated Feb. 14 and obtained by The Northern Virginia Daily. Vass notes in the memo that the county abandoned the previous title of director of community development after Bradley Polk left the position in 2017.
“The position of Director not only provided administrative oversight to planning/zoning and code enforcement but also economic development,” the memo states.
County administration reassigned economic development duties to then Tourism Director Jenna French, who took on the additional responsibilities, Vass states, adding that the move has worked well. The memo goes on to state that the Office of Community Development functioned as two agencies — building inspections and planning and zoning.
“Following the resignation of Mr. Brian Henshaw in mid-2018 we have unsuccessfully recruited for a planning and zoning coordinator,” the memo states. “To that end, we have regularly and with greater frequency looked to Mr. Mark Griffey and tasked him with helping facilitate and coordinate not only the code enforcement aspect of his job but varied aspects of the planning and zoning department.
“After considering various options, we have decided to officially recognize Mr. Griffey’s increased responsibility by retitling his position and promoting him to Community Development Coordinator,” Vass added in the memo.
Griffey continues to act as chief building-code official while providing coordination and administrative help to the Planning and Zoning Department.