City officials, staff members and various community leaders expressed their appreciation for Director of Community Development Laurie Lineberry, who is retiring after 20 years with the City of Yuma.
Lineberry will retire on Jan. 10, following 20 years working for the City of Yuma, including 13 as the department’s director. A retirement open house will be held 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9, in Room 142 of City Hall, One City Plaza.
"In the time I have worked with Laurie, it is evident she is a true professional and an ethical, dedicated leader. She was not only instrumental in building our community, but she added strength and value to the City organization as a whole,” said City Administrator Philip Rodriguez. "All are encouraged to attend the open house retirement this Thursday as we come together to wish her well.”
“The community is grateful for Laurie Lineberry’s 20 years of hard work in planning the growth of the City,” said Mayor Douglas Nicholls. “It is a role that requires not only strong planning principles, but also an in-depth understanding that Yuma is a unique, growing community. We are thankful for Laurie’s dedication and wish her well.”
Lineberry came to Yuma from Spokane, Wash., where she had been the Assistant Planning Director. She began working in Yuma as Planning Service Manager in 1999, and went on to serve as Assistant Director, Long Range Planning; Assistant Director, Community Development/Private Development; and as Assistant Director/Zoning Administrator.
“Over the years, fellow staff has really appreciated Laurie’s way of getting to the heart of every matter she dealt with – and her department can deal with a lot of complicated matters,” said Deputy City Administrator Jay Simonton. “We will miss her, and wish her the best.”
“Laurie’s job is difficult and demanding, and she and her friendly staff performed with skill and professionalism throughout,” said former two-time Councilmember Jerry Stuart. “I have the utmost respect for her. She’ll be missed.”
Under Lineberry’s guidance and close work with Long Range Principal Planner Jennifer Albers, the City has successfully adopted two voter-approved General Plans, in 2002 and 2012. Staff is already preparing for the next one, due in 2022.
Laurie said she’s proud of having developed strong relationships with both Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the Yuma County Airport Authority. She worked hard to create those partnerships, she said, so as to protect the mission of the base while still allowing for the community’s continued, well-planned growth.
The City’s Department of Community Development (DCD) has 40 employees and four divisions: DCD Administration, Community Planning, Building Safety and Neighborhood Services. DCD must work in tandem with other local governments and community partners such as Yuma County, City of Somerton, City of Gadsden, Yuma County Fair Inc., Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp., Yuma Regional Medical Center, Southwest Contractors Association, Board of Realtors, and the development community at large.
Understanding that aesthetics are important for the presentation, growth and success of a community, DCD maintains an eye for growth, sustainability, and creating beautiful public spaces through landscaping and public art.
Developers and community members outside of the City of Yuma who have worked with Lineberry over the years also had a few words to add about her retirement.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Laurie since 2003. In that time Laurie demonstrated her desire to see Yuma grow smartly and efficiently,” said Julie Engel, Chief Economic Architect with Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp. “She worked under several administrators and had to change directions multiple times and always maintained her professionalism and positive attitude. We will be sorry to see Laurie take this next step, we will miss her terribly; however, we are very happy for her and her family and know that whatever she does next she will do with grace and kindness. Very proud to call Laurie a friend and a consummate professional all young women can look up to.”
“Over the years Laurie and I have worked on commercial, residential and agriculture matters. Laurie was always responsive to me, thoughtful and fair – ideal qualities for a public employee!” said Paul Muthart, General Manager of Pasquinelli Produce Co. “She has earned a great retirement.”
Deputy City Administrator Jay Simonton will oversee DCD and support its three assistant directors for the time being, Rodriguez said. A national recruitment for Lineberry’s successor will follow.