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Squires resigns

Sunnyside Planning and Community Development Director Pete Squires tendered his resignation Feb. 6.

Squires started working for the City of Sunnyside Aug. 20, 2001. His last day at his position will be Feb. 29. Squires is leaving Sunnyside to assume a similar position as head of the community development department in West Richland. The move will place Squires closer to his home in the Tri-Cities.

Squires' resignation is the second such departure in the last three months. City Manager Dave Fonfara resigned a couple of months ago to take over similar duties in Chelan.

"We are right in the process of re-allocating some of his responsibilities," said Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler of Squires' resignation.

Squires' tenure in Sunnyside will perhaps be best remembered for a proposed landscaping ordinance that has raised the ire of several community members. Squires was also intricately involved with developing a mobile vending ordinance that was the center of controversy with vendors in the community.

Kunkler said Squires handles a lot of areas for the city, such as planning review, development and overseeing commissions such as the board of adjustment and the planning commission. One of the major projects Kunkler will have to address is the work Squires has been doing with the city's comprehensive plan.

At the beginning of the year as part of budget cutbacks, the city let go of its public works director. As part of the reorganization, Squires department, which includes building permits and code enforcement, was supposed to oversees certain parts of the public works department and help implement any projects.

Kunkler said he is in the process of reorganizing the duties Squires performed to other qualified staff on hand, such as Public Works Superintendent Ken Ott and Engineer Jim Bridges.

"We have some good qualified people who can step in," said Kunkler.

Kunkler, who is serving as the interim city manager until a new one can be found, will be taking over Squires' duties with the planning commission and the board of adjustment.

Kunkler said there are no immediate plans to replace Squires. The interim city manager stated current staff will be handling the duties for the short-term while it is determined if the city does need to replace Squires. Kunkler also added with Squires' position being left open, the city will be saving money in a tight budget year.

Kunkler also said that any plans to replace Squires might be on hold until a new city manager is hired.

Squires was unavailable for comment.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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