Standards for Promotion

Dear Management Doctor:

I am the County Planning Director in Hood River, Oregon. We, like many eastern Oregon counties, are plagued by high planner turnover partially because our planners migrate west to metro areas where the pay is significantly higher. I am trying a number of things to increase appropriate retention.

Like many Oregon counties, I am allowed xx number of senior planners, xx number of associate planners, etc. However, if the senior planners stay in place, I have no promotional opportunities for my associates, assistants, tech's, etc.

I am trying to institute a qualification-based promotional system in the County; where planners can be promoted to the next higher planning position upon meeting clear and objective standards and with the Director's recommendation.

Question: Outside of the AICP testing, are there any qualification standards around that you are aware of that I can use as the basis for developing my own qualification standards.

Thank you,

Mike Benedict

Dear Mike:

I'm not aware of any but hope our readers can help and suggest some. There are many committees that use a banded type of classifications, i.e., Planner I, II, and III, with the ability to move people along through the various levels. In setting standards, try to avoid the old way of describing positions via the level of supervision. Organizations need to learn to recognize a variety of skills in addition to supervision responsibilities. For many planners, qualifications I would look for would include inter-personal skills, writing, teamwork and some specialization skills such as urban designer, transportation expert, etc. For those that will be in supervision or management, of course supervisor and management skills. Incidentally, although some people do leave jobs for more pay, studies show most want a different experience (you may be able to give this), more control (you may be able to give this), or they can't stand their boss.

Please share your success with our readers.

The Management Doctor

Reader Response

In Dakota County, where I am the Director of Planning for the Physical Development Division-Transportation; Environmental Management; Survey and Parks-we have created a career ladder to address the issues raised by Mike. We have banded classifications-Planner I, II, III and Senior Planners-however, we allow mobility based on an established criteria and with the recommendation of the Director of the Department and the Director of the Division. I would be happy to share the document if Mike or anyone else is interested.

Lynn Moratzka, Director, Office of Planning,
Apple Valley, MN

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