To streamline the delivery of services among Madera County’s resource departments, and to implement strategic groundwater management solutions county-wide, county officials announced Friday a major reorganization of administrative offices.
As part of that restructuring, the county created the Office of Development Services, which will house the Department of Public Works, Department of Community and Economic Development, and the newly created Department of Water and Natural Resources.
Norm Allinder, who has served as Madera County’s Planning Director since 2009, was selected to oversee the new office as the Chief of Development Services, which began May 3. Allinder, who received a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, brings over 16 years of planning expertise to this position.
“I am honored to serve as the county’s newly established Chief of Development Services. Having Community and Economic Development, Public Works, and Water and Natural Resources under one roof will initiate critical dialogues among the county’s resource and development agencies, which will ultimately work to ensure the consistent delivery of services to our communities,” said Allinder.
With Allinder in his new position, Matthew Treber, who previously served as the Madera County Deputy Planning Director, has assumed the role of Director of Community and Economic Development, which oversees the Building, Environmental Health, Fire Prevention and Planning departments.
As Director of Public Works, Ahmad Alkhayyat continues to oversee Maintenance and Operations, Municipal Services and Capital Improvement Projects and its Design and Development subdivision.
Alkhayyat has over 20 years of experience in the field, 10 of which have been with Madera County. He was appointed the Public Works Director on April 19 ( story link here), after he served as the Deputy Public Works Director and Senior Civil Engineer. Alkhayyat received a bachelor’s in construction engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of La Verne.
To manage Water and Natural Resources, longtime agricultural advocate and former Executive Director of the Madera County Farm Bureau, Julia Berry, has joined Madera County as its Director. Berry has more than 18 years of experience in those fields.
The decision to create the Department of Water and Natural Resources largely stems from the enactment of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by Governor Brown in September 2014. In what has been hailed as landmark legislation, SGMA enables local control of groundwater basins via the establishment of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency. SGMA also incentivizes and streamlines processes for critical water infrastructure, such as groundwater storage and recharge.
Madera County’s Department of Water and Natural Resources will receive technical support from Public Works and Community and Economic Development staff. In addition to developing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan with Madera County agencies, Berry will oversee water supply and water quality initiatives, and she will coordinate with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on forestry management programs.
“I have honed my career in agricultural and water advocacy, and I am glad to serve in this new role at Madera County,” Berry said. “The Department of Water and Natural Resources represents an exciting opportunity to convene regional conversations with residents and technical experts about how we want to replenish and manage our groundwater basin, which is vital to our region.”
For more information about the Madera County Department of Water and Natural Resources’ water quality and conservation initiatives and information on how to get involved, visit http://recyclemaderacounty.com/only-rain-in-the-drain/.