The City of St. Augustine has added a second assistant city manager to take on some strategic initiatives.
David Birchim, who has been the city's Planning and Building Department director since 2014, will take on the role starting Tuesday, city spokeswoman Melissa Wissel said.
Birchim will be responsible for the City Commission’s large-scale, long-term strategic initiatives.
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"Strategic initiatives the city is developing include but are not limited to a commuter rail project, affordable housing solutions, homelessness housing alternatives, relocation of the Anastasia Island fire station, relocation of the St. Augustine Police Department, and additional satellite parking venues," according to a city news release.
Birchim will be the second assistant city manager on staff. Meredith Breidenstein will remain as assistant city manager overseeing administrative, departmental and financial operations, according to the release.
“With many of these initiatives, David is critical to the understanding and development of their design and implementation,” City Manager John Regan said in the release. “By allowing him to focus solely on these projects, his experience and expertise will be dedicated to the strategic vision of maintaining vibrancy and livability in our city.”
Birchim has worked for the city for 24 years. Before he became director of the Planning and Building Department, he worked as planner II, senior planner, planning manager and deputy director of the department.
"His knowledge of city code and building and development practices, in addition to his ability to articulate the design and intention of projects to the volunteer boards and City Commission, is unparalleled," according to the release. "In promoting Birchim to assistant city manager, the city continues to benefit from his expertise and offers an opportunity to work more closely with long-term planning and development."
The deputy director of the planning and building department, Amy Skinner, will take over as director of the department. The city has not yet chosen a replacement for Skinner as deputy director, Wissel said.
Skinner, who has worked for the city for 15 years total, started as a planning technician in 1989. She left the city in 1997 to work as a consultant and also worked for the City of Bunnell for several years, according to the release. Skinner returned to work again for the City of St. Augustine in 2014 and has been the deputy director of the Planning and Building Department since 2016.
"Amy is unquestionably the right person to take the helm of the Planning and Building Department," Regan said in the release. "With her skill sets and extensive background, she will bring a fresh, new perspective to the leadership role of the department.”
Birchim's salary will increase from about $122,644 to $145,000, Wissel said. Skinner's salary will increase from $70,000 to $90,000.
This is a developing story. Check back for details.
This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: St. Augustine planning director to take over 'strategic initiatives'