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New Lawndale Planning Director Starts Work

February 18, 1988|ADRIANNE GOODMAN | Times Staff Writer

The Lawndale City Council has appointed a new planning director, filling a position that has been vacant since Nancy Owens resigned last October.

James Arnold, 58, started work last Friday, one day after the council approved his application by a vote of 4 to 0. Councilman Harold E. Hofman was not present for the vote.

Owens was one of three top Lawndale management employees who departed late last year. City Treasurer Ray Wood was fired Oct. 1 after the city learned it had lost $1.68 million in speculative investments. City Manager Paul J. Philips resigned in December after a series of closed-door meetings with council members. The city still has not hired a new manager or treasurer.

Arnold, who most recently was director of community development in Simi Valley for 2 1/2 years, was formerly executive director of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission in Muskegon, Mich., for 10 years, planning director for the City of Skokie, Ill., and a consultant on planning and development for the Ford Foundation in India.

A native of Ventura County, he earned an undergraduate degree in municipal management and a master's degree in city planning, both at USC.

Faces Backlog

Mayor Sarann Kruse said Arnold will face a backlog in his new job, despite the efforts of city staff members to keep abreast of the department's work in the absence of a planning director.

"The department has been in transition," she said. "We have a lot of development going on in the city, and because of that and because the department hasn't been functioning at full capacity, a lot of things have been sitting."

The city has been working on a senior citizens' housing proposal and on easing the impact of commercial development.

Arnold said he spent his first few days reviewing the city budget, planning ordinances and other documents. "I want to get some guidance from the council before I do anything," he said.

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