New county planner begins work on Jan. 2

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Andy Short has been hired as the new Mineral County Planner and Sanitarian. (Photo courtesy of Territorial Landworks)

Andy Short has been hired as the new Mineral County Planner and Sanitarian. He is replacing Tim Read who retired last September, and will start his new position on Jan. 2, 2019. Short currently works as a Land Use Planner, Environmental Health Specialist and the Missoula Branch Manager for Territorial-Landworks in Missoula. He was hired out of a short stack of applicants in November, according to Mineral County Commissioner Roman Zylawy.

The other applicants did not have the extensive qualifications that Short had, Zylawy said. Including an education in biology and chemistry, proper certifications in both areas of planning and sanitation, and the other applicants did not have as much experience as Short. He had also previously worked in the Mineral County position for a short period of time in 2003. This was before he took another job as a city sanitarian in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. From there, he worked for Missoula County in the same capacity before working for Territorial-Landworks.

The position pays $75,000 annually and Zylway said the salary is a little higher because of the dual nature of the work. It is both a position of sounty planner and sanitarian. As a planner, Short will be dealing with projects like trailer courts, identifying flood plains, mapping and surveys, studying area populations, and predicting trends and working with project program costs.

As the sanitarian, he will inspect restaurants, hotels, septic and water systems, respond to semi-truck wrecks that involve food products, inspect swimming pools, campgrounds and the hospital. They all include certifications, education and knowledge to be in compliance with federal, state and local rules and regulations.

“Without adequate experience, or certification, the county could easily be sued,” Zylawy said. “If someone builds their home in a flood plain, for example, we could be sued. Or if they are denied an application to build for the wrong reason, we could be sued.”

In most counties, there are two full-time positions - one for sanitarian and one for county planner –and each one averages about $43,000 each, annually, “we feel that by combining the two positions into one, we are saving the county some money.” Another reason for the higher pay is the competition, “currently, there are seven other counties looking for sanitarians. We feel lucky we were able to get Andy,” he said.

SHORT WAS NOT available for an interview by the Mineral Independent, but during his job interview he said he likes Mineral County and the recreational opportunities that it provides. According to the Territorial-Landworks website, Short holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas. He started working for the firm in 2005 and has a strong background in both commercial and government work, and his specialty is permitting and design of onsite sewer and water systems.

“He is an authorized Contract Subdivision Reviewer for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and has experience with environmental site evaluations and assessing applicable health codes for onsite sewer and water systems. His experience includes the ‘cradle to grave’ responsibility for many of his projects from their inception, planning, analysis and design to final completion,” the site states.

In addition to his work experience, Short is also community minded. He belongs to a number of Missoula organizations, including the Montana Environmental Health Association; the Missoula Chamber of Commerce; the Missoula Downtown Association; the Montana Native Plant Society; the Northwest Sanitarian Association; and the Western Central Planners Association.

“There’s a little bit of a pile in his ‘in-box,’” said Zylawy. The county had contracted out the positions after Read left and so immediate issues were resolved, but the long-term projects have been held until Short could start his new position.

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