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City announces choice for planning director

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has selected a new planning director, a position that has been empty for nearly two years.

Scott Chesney, the director of planning and development for El Mirage, Ariz., was the top choice of an advisory committee of planning staff, according to a City of Spokane news release. Chesney’s appointment will forwarded to the city council for confirmation. His starting salary will be $98,554 a year.

“Scott has a strong background in urban planning and is excited about the opportunity to work in Spokane,” Verner said in the news release. “He rose to the top for the groups that participated in the selection process.”

Chesney has worked in redevelopment planning and implementation for 20 years, the news release said. He also worked as the director of community development in Surprise, Ariz. and as principal for his own urban planning consulting firm, Chesney & Associates.

JoAnne Wright has served as interim planning director since Oct. 2009, when then-planning director Leroy Eadie was asked to serve as interim director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, a position he now holds permanently.

Verner also thanked Wright for “her leadership and commitment during this period of transition.”

Wright was not a candidate and will return to her previous position as senior planner in the neighborhood planning area, said city Spokeswoman Marlene Feist.