At a meeting on May 11, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors appointed Amber Collins as interim planning director.
“I was asked by the county to consider taking over as interim planning director on a temporary, part-time basis until the position is filled permanently,” Collins said in an email. “I accepted the offer because I felt this would provide the county with the continuity and support needed during recruitment and transition.”
Collins grew up in Northern California in the small farming community of Colusa. She went to college at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business, a master’s in city and regional planning and a master’s in engineering.
“My career has centered around planning in California,” Collins said. “While completing the graduate programs, I gained experience in both the public and private sectors of land-use planning. After graduating, I moved to Valencia, and worked for a private consulting firm as a planner and specialized in transit planning.”
Wanting to return to Northern California, in 2012 Collins applied for the transportation planner position at the Calaveras Council of Governments (CCOG). She held that position until 2017, when she became executive director of CCOG, a role she will continue to fill while carrying out her part-time position as interim planning director.
“I have a separate contract with the county outlining the scope of services and expectations for the interim planning director,” Collins said. “The expectations of the CCOG Board are that I continue to fulfill my duties as their executive director and that the time I spend on county planning business is above and beyond, separate, and does not conflict with my full-time position at CCOG.”
Collins takes over for Peter Maurer, who retired at the end of April.
“The previous planning director, Mr. Maurer, provided stability for the planning department and built an exceptional team that has accomplished a lot in the last several years, including adoption of the 2019 General Plan update,” Collins said. “I knew that I would be stepping into a department that is extremely functional with high performing and capable staff.”
Her work experience has prepared her well for the new role, Collins said.
“I have a planning background in both education and experience, as well as a knowledge of Calaveras and understanding of current issues in the county,” she said. “I have a strong foundation and understanding of California land-use planning principles, laws and processes for which a public planning agency is responsible. I have also worked in partnership with the county on many projects and issues throughout the years, in particular with the planning department on many planning projects, including current General Plan implementation. Given this background, I felt I could step in quickly and provide immediate service to the county.”
Collins said that she has several goals during her time as interim planning director.
“It is my goal to provide the staff, planning commission and board of supervisors the support needed to maintain existing services and operations and ensure current or ongoing projects and programs are implemented,” she said. “I have great respect for the current staff, they are extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and I want to enable them to do their jobs and continue to provide the public with a high level of service.”
Collins said that she has enjoyed her time in Calaveras County.
“I have enjoyed living and working in Calaveras and serving the residents here,” she said. “I strive to provide the highest level of public service and am driven by wanting to see real positive impacts.”