City hires new planning director from Port Townsend

Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville offered the City of Bellingham’s vacant planning and community development director job to Rick Sepler, current director of community services for the City of Port Townsend.

Jeff Thomas, former planning and community development director, resigned in June to accept a similar job with the City of Sammamish, Washington.

Sepler was chosen after three days of interviews with departmend heads, senior staff, planning department employees, and community stakeholders, according to a press release.

He said he applied for the job because he reached a plateau at his previous job and wanted new challenges. He is also impressed with Bellingham for its quality of life and the community, he said.

In Port Townsend, Sepler supervises 18 employees in the city’s community services division. The division is in charge of development, planning, parks and pool, and fleet and facilities departments. He has been with the City of Port Townsend since 2006 and has won several American Planning Association awards. He’s also an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington, and has served as hearings examiner in town’s throughout Western Washington.

Linville said in the press release that she is excited to bring Sepler’s breadth of experience to Bellingham.

“I believe that his collaborative nature and considerable experience will be a great benefit to Bellingham,” she said. “We had three finalists during this process, and I believe Rick will be a great fit for our city.”

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