Dover taps retired Smyrna town manager Hugg for acting planning post

DOVER — Dave Hugg has been appointed as the acting director of planning and community development for the city of Dover.

Mr. Hugg retired as Smyrna’s town manager last December after 14 years leading different departments in the town.

Mr. Hugg will temporarily replace Ann Marie Townshend, whose last day as Dover’s city planner was Friday. She has accepted a job to be the city manager in Lewes.

“Mr. Hugg will guide us through this transition period in our planning office,” said Dover Council President Timothy A. Slavin. “(His) experience(s) as a planner and as a former city manager mark him as an experienced leader in Delaware local government.”

Mr. Hugg has been hired as a consultant to Dover’s city government. He will not be paid as an employee (no benefits) and he won’t be a candidate for the director of planning and community development position when the search is opened, officials said.

His contract is for six months and can be extended by council if circumstances warrant such an extension. The cost for his temporary role in Dover will not exceed the budgeted amounts for the recently vacated position.

He will be responsible for ensuring that the day-to-day operations of the Department of Planning and Community Development continue smoothly.

Mr. Hugg will also provide two important functions for the city: He will assess operations and make recommendations relative to operations of the office and he will immediately initiate a “pro-business” approach to Dover’s permitting processes.

Mr. Hugg will also help lead the search for a new director of planning and community development. Council has not established a timeline for that search as of this time.

Dover was stung by the retirement of former City Manager Scott Koenig and the resignation of Mrs. Townshend in March. Donna Mitchell is now the acting city manager.

“The recent loss of two key veteran managers was a significant challenge facing council,” Mr. Slavin said. “I am proud of the work of my fellow council members — we answered the challenge and ensured stability in our city government.

“With the appointment of Mrs. Mitchell as the acting city manager and Mr. Hugg as the acting director of planning and community development, we have two of the most experienced and respected government managers on-board and working with our team. This was an extraordinary response by council to an extraordinary challenge.”

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