SLO County to hire someone to focus on 'energy'

For the first time in its history, the county is going to create a planner’s position whose chief focus will be energy.

The “energy program coordinator” could be in place in a matter of weeks, according to Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

Gibson said there is “a tremendous amount going on” as the state and county seek to deal with reducing greenhouse gases. A stream of new technology is accompanying that movement, he said.

Kami Griffin, assistant director of the planning department, said other counties, such as Marin, have gone in the same direction.

Griffin said the job pays between $66,000 and $80,000 a year, plus benefits. The county would fill the job by hiring internally. That individual’s current job would go unfilled when he or she moves to the new one, Griffin said.

The grant money that will be used to pay for the job will run out in two years, at which time the county would re-evaluate whether it wants to keep a planner focused on energy. Finding grants will be part of the job, and whoever is hired could theoretically find a grant that would pay his or her salary, she said.

Supervisors were enthusiastic about the move.

Adam Hill called it “a crucial position,” and Jim Patterson said it was “a watershed moment for the county.”