Annapolis mayor dismisses planning director

Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides has dismissed the city's longtime planning director.

Though a press release issued from the mayor's office on Monday did not describe the nature of the departure of planning director Jon Arason, city spokeswoman Rhonda Wardlaw confirmed that Arason was let go.

Arason started with the city in 1987 as chief of comprehensive planning. He became deputy director in 1989 and director in 1996.

With Arason's departure, Sally Nash, the current chief of comprehensive planning, will serve as acting director.

In the press release, Pantelides praised Arason's years of hard work. "I know change is difficult, but I believe changes are necessary to thoroughly review the department and its policies and procedures," he said.

Over the past year, Arason often testified before the city council on controversial projects backed by former Mayor Josh Cohen, who Pantelides defeated in November by 59 votes.

This is the second major personnel move made by Pantelides. The new mayor nominated Timothy Murnane, who was on his election legal team, to be city attorney. Murnane is currently acting city attorney, as the city council postponed his confirmation in December.

Pantelides also has announced the details of his monthly open office hours. Pantelides will meet with constituents from 9:30 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, beginning this week. The 10-minute appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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