Commissioners appoint new director of Community
Public invited to welcome reception
Orchard, WA) – The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners is pleased
to announce the appointment of Louisa Garbo as the new director of the
Department of Community Development, replacing Larry Keeton who retired
in December 2015. She will begin her employment August 8, managing the
department’s 70 employees and overseeing a budget of approximately $8.8
million. Her starting salary is $119,000.
Ms. Garbo, the former director of Planning and Building
Safety in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, was selected from nearly 60 applicants
from across the United States and locally. With over 15 years of
professional experience in land-use planning, Ms. Garbo oversaw development
activities, building inspections, heritage preservation and implementation
of long-range plans and policies. She has a strong background in planning
and budgeting, community development, and community building. She also
worked with elected officials at both the local and regional level.
“She is an experienced professional in planning and
law, and in both managing development and code enforcement,” said
Commissioner Ed Wolfe, chair of the Board. “She is the right person at the
right time to lead our Department of Community Development to the next level
while engaging stakeholders and the community at large.”
Ms. Garbo is a certified planner in both America and
Canada and an accredited LEED Green associate. She earned a bachelor of fine
arts degree from the University of Manitoba; a master’s degree in city
planning from the University of Manitoba; a juris doctor from William Howard
Taft University in California; and a master’s degree in negotiation,
conflict resolution and peacebuilding from California State University. She
began her planning career in Arizona where she worked for the cities of
Scottsdale and Peoria, and Cochise County.
“Louisa is uniquely qualified to address the functions
of our Community Development department. I especially look forward to
seeing how her ideas for public outreach and user-friendly information are
adapted in Kitsap County,” said Commissioner Charlotte Garrido.
Along with credentials in planning and mediation, Ms.
Garbo is a life-long learner who places a high premium on the importance of
creative and innovative problem solving, employing conflict resolution
skills with the goal of strengthening collaborative relationships.
“I believe Louisa brings to the role a unique
combination of skill sets that will help the department build upon recent
successes and continue to lead the department toward continued gains,” noted
Commissioner Rob Gelder. “More importantly, I think she’ll help us engage
stakeholders in unique ways.”
The Board of Commissioners used an executive recruiter
to conduct the year-long, nationwide search for Keeton’s replacement and
initially screened 58 applicants. In addition to interviews with the Board
of Commissioners, the top two candidates attended an interactive reception
in Port Orchard with stakeholders and department directors before the final
“I am very much looking forward to starting my new
position with Kitsap County as director of DCD,” said Garbo. “I feel
incredibly fortunate to be chosen for this challenging position. It is
certainly a great opportunity for me both personally and professionally and
I am excited to be part of the growth in Kitsap County.”
She also noted that she will be much closer to her
family in Vancouver, British Columbia and looks forward to building her life
on the West Coast “in such a friendly community.”
Commissioners are hosting a welcome reception for
Louisa Garbo from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, August 11 in the Chambers of the
Kitsap County Administration Building, 619 Division Street, Port Orchard.
The public is welcome to attend.
Louisa Garbo, newly appointed Director for the
Department of Community Development
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