City’s longtime planning manager resigns

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Stacey Lundin

The resignation becomes effective on Friday, but the search for a permanent replacement could begin later this month.

By Jonathan Friedman / Special to The Malibu Times

After taking maternity leave since April, one of the city’s longest serving employees recently resigned from her position as manager of the city’s Planning Division.

Stacey Lundin (known as Stacey Rice until her recent marriage) late last month submitted her letter of resignation, effective Sept. 4. Stefanie Edmondson will remain the interim planning manager.

Edmondson has been heading the Planning Division on an interim basis since April. City Manager Jim Thorsen said last week that she could be appointed to the position permanently or a search might begin for a new person. He and Vic Peterson, head of the Environmental and Community Development Department (which includes the Planning Division) will begin the process toward selecting a permanent planning manager later this month.

Edmondson did not respond to an inquiry from The Malibu Times regarding whether she was interested in the job. The selection of a planning manager does not require the approval of the city council because it is not a department head.

Lundin, who has worked for the city since 2002, said she had planned to return to her post, but had “major complications on her end” with the birth of her son, Von.

“The aftermath of Von’s birth took a while to heal,” Lundin wrote in an e-mail to The Malibu Times . “And I’ve really only been up and about for a month or so. Fortunately, Von is vibrantly healthy and I’m doing really well.”

Lundin wrote that she hopes to be able to work for the city on a part-time basis, but that the demands of the job of a planning manager would be too much for her current schedule.

Lundin received praise from many city officials, including Planning Commissioner John Mazza who in a phone interview this week called her “a breath of fresh air” and said “she did a real good job understanding the problems of city planning in Malibu.”

“Stacey did a good job,” Mayor Andy Stern said this week in a telephone interview. “She will surely be missed.”

Lundin, who has a doctorate in urban affairs and public policy, came to the City of Malibu as a senior planner in 2002 after a few years at various jobs in both the private and public sector. When Planning Manager Mike Teruya resigned in 2005, Lundin applied for the position. But the job went to C.J. Amstrup, who came out of West Hollywood.

Lundin said in a 2007 interview with The Malibu Times that she was “not necessarily disappointed” about not getting the job at that time. “It was a stressful time [for the city and herself],” she said.

In 2007, when Amstrup left to head the Planning Department in Anaheim, Lundin again applied for Malibu’s head planning position-and got it. At that time, Lundin was a Malibu resident and said it was a great thing because she loves the city, but admitted it could be difficult living in the city for which she is a high-profile city planner. “I try not to shop here,” she said in the 2007 interview, while laughing.

She now lives in West Los Angeles with her husband Zach and their son, and wrote that she still enjoys Malibu, and comes to visit the city every weekend.

Lundin also said in the e-mail that she leaves her job with mostly good memories. “I’m leaving behind the most talented Planning Division I’ve ever seen,” she wrote. “The planning staff is so bright, hard-working, professional and dedicated. I could go on and on. I love everyone at city hall. I miss them every day.”

But some things Lundin will not miss, she wrote, are the “negative neighbor disputes, name calling and lawsuits.

“I tried to work consistently on creative problem solving with conflicting interests to avoid appeals and lawsuits,” she said. “But it was a challenge.”