The county department that manages gopher inspections and handles building permits in unincorporated areas has a new name and a new boss.
Joshua Cummings, who has served as interim director for Resource Stewardship since Sept. 26, gets to permanently keep the gig, county officials announced last week. And his department is being renamed the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED).
Cummings previously served as the county’s sustainability and economic development manager, and one of his jobs was to oversee the Thurston County Fair. He has worked for the county since February 2013. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Washington University in Bellingham and is enrolled in a master’s program in management and leadership from Western Governors University.
“Joshua’s leadership, strategic thinking and communication have been, and will continue to be, a great asset for the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development and the county,” county manager Ramiro Chavez said in a news release. “He has made some innovative adjustments in the department during his interim appointment, and I believe he has the right vision to move the department forward.”
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Cummings previously worked as the federal affairs manager for Weyerhaeuser Company, on the congressional staff for former Rep. Norm Dicks, and as staff for the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy.
The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to hire Cummings for the position, according to the news release. The board axed the previous department’s leader, Brent Butler, in September, after they “had lost confidence in his leadership ability,” according to county spokesman Bryan Dominique. Butler held the office for about 16 months, and was one of three county department heads to be dismissed during 2017.
CPED has about 90 employees, and Cummings’ annual salary will be $115,000, county spokeswoman Meghan Porter told The Olympian.
The department responsibilities include environmental review and permitting, water resources, Washington State University Thurston County Extension, noxious weed control, agritourism and the fair.