Embattled County Planning Director Announces Retirement

Bryan Speegle, director of Orange County Public Works and head of a planning department that was recently lambasted in a government audit and blasted by county supervisors, has announced his retirement, according to a statement from the county CEO's office.

"County Executive Officer Thomas G. Mauk has named Jess Carbajal to serve as Interim Director of OC Public Works, effective immediately," reads the statement. "Carbajal, previously the department's Chief Deputy Director, has served in management positions of progressive responsibility during his 10 years with the County and has over 18 years of city government experience in community development and public works."

Performance audit director Steve Danley, who investigates county issues on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, recently reported the planning department is in "critical condition," that customer service is "mediocre at best," that employees have stopped performing some required safety and environmental inspections, and that nobody is consistently monitoring subcontractors to ensure they're not over-billing customers or performing work in a timely manner.

Board chairwoman Pat Bates, who requested the audit along with Supervisor Bill Campbell, told the Orange County Register, "People don't have a lot of faith in government, and this report reflects why not. There's not a focus on the customer. There's a focus on the agency."

During the auditing process, Planning Director Tim Neely retired, and when Speegle took over he did not dispute the audits findings and he agreed with all the auditor's recommendations.

"Planning and Development Services chooses to look forward in a new direction with the hope of being creative in our approach to customer services, fiscally responsible in using a sound business practices, and managing our organization resources; all of this to assist in the development of a new PDS that is motivated and focused on developing an efficient organization poised to meet the challenges ahead," Speegle wrote in his formal response.

Guess they'll now be looking forward without him. The CEO's full statement follows . . .

Public Works Director Retires

(Santa Ana, CA) -- Bryan Speegle, the Director of OC Public Works, has announced his retirement after more than 26 years of service to the County of Orange. Speegle became the department's director in January 2004 after previously serving as Planning and Development Director.

During his career, he developed the first comprehensive Land Use Element of the General Plan in 1973 and oversaw the comprehensive update of the plan in 1983. He also coordinated the completion of Environmental Impact Reports for the San Joaquin Hills, Foothill and Eastern Transportation Corridors, as well as establishing requirements for many planned communities in Orange County.

County Executive Officer Thomas G. Mauk has named Jess Carbajal to serve as Interim Director of OC Public Works, effective immediately. Carbajal, previously the department's Chief Deputy Director, has served in management positions of progressive responsibility during his 10 years with the County and has over 18 years of city government experience in community development and public works.
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