Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon has named Clay White, current president of the Washington State Association of Regional and County Planning Directors, as the new director of its Planning and Development Services Department.
White, age 36, has been director of Stevens County’s Land Services Department since 2004, where he has implemented multiple strategies to save funding while still delivering timely customer-driven services. The Land Services Department includes planning, building, watershed planning and code enforcement divisions.
“Clay’s commitment to engaging the public in the planning process and to improving customer service make him an excellent fit for Snohomish County,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said.
Besides director experience in government planning, White has worked as a planner in Kittitas County and the city of Black Diamond.
“I’m confident that Clay has the long-range experience and integrity to lead Snohomish County’s planning department,” Deputy Executive Gary Haakenson said. “He is well respected for his ideas and regional involvement at the state level.”
Well-versed in Growth Management Act requirements, White is expected to move Snohomish County’s planning department closer to its goals of balancing development with a growing and diverse population as well as lead the county in its regional objectives.
“I am truly excited about the opportunity to work for Snohomish County PDS. With the current economy, Washington’s counties have had to reassess priorities and focus on maximizing available resources,” White said. “This presents challenges but it is also an opportunity to focus on core functions and to improve the service we provide to the public.”
Among those is the county’s continued push to include environmentally friendly designs and requirements in the building process. While at Stevens County, White was responsible for leading the county in the adoption of its first Comprehensive Plan and implementing development regulations. Clay has also worked on large project developments including multiple wind farm projects while at Kittitas County.
“Clay has played an important role assisting the Washington State Association of Counties as the chair of the Washington State Association of County and Regional Planning Directors. He has done a wonderful job coordinating and leading county planners from across the state,” said Josh Weiss, general counsel and policy director at WSAC. “Snohomish County is fortunate to be adding Clay’s expertise to their team.”
“I have witnessed Clay’s leadership abilities through WSAC and believe he has the experience to take on this new job,” said retired Mill Creek community development director Bill Trimm. “He is a well-respected member of the state association of county and regional directors, and he can bring stability and a fresh approach to the department.”
White graduated from Central Washington University in 1996 with degrees in anthropology and geography with a specialization in resource management. In 2007, the newly approved Stevens County Comprehensive Plan won the Governor’s Smart Community Merit Award for its public participation process.
“I look forward to returning to the Puget Sound area with my family,” said White, formerly of Burien. “It is a wonderful place to live and work.”