One of Laramie’s most senior planners is leaving in November take on a top position in Wyoming’s capital city.
City of Laramie Principal Planner Charles Bloom accepted an offer on Monday to serve as Cheyenne’s planning and development director. His last day of work in Laramie will be Nov. 5, and he will start in Cheyenne Nov. 7.
Bloom was paid around $69,000 annually in Laramie. He will see a significant pay increase in Cheyenne at $105,000, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
The decision to take Cheyenne’s offer came from seeing an opportunity for advancement, not a problem with his job in Laramie, Bloom told the Boomerang Wednesday.
“I’ve been working in Laramie for 13 years, and it had become my home,” Bloom said. “Working for the city has definitely been rewarding. I’ve been challenged with a ton of opportunities, projects that are unique to the region because of the scale, the size.
When I saw the Cheyenne planning director position pop up, it looked like a good opportunity for me to jump up to the next level and begin to use the skills I learned in Laramie and Little Rock (Arkansas) and grow.”
In his new position, Bloom will plan, direct, manage and oversee the activities and operations of the Planning and Development Department, according to a news release. He will be responsible for the long-range planning and development, reviewing functions of the city, coordinating assigned activities with other city departments and outside agencies. Along with that, Bloom will be providing management and administrative support to Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Charles to the team,” Orr said in the news release. “Laramie is well known for its vibrant downtown and growing residential and commercial development. His experience is easily transferable to Cheyenne. He knows Wyoming and we welcome him to the Capitol City.”
Looking at his work in the Gem City that included assessing affordable housing and plans to develop its roadways, Bloom said perhaps the highlight was the adoption of Laramie’s Unified Development Code, or UDC.
Being the project manager for the assignment, Bloom said, was a monumental task that will continue to evolve.
“The UDC still needs work,” he said. “It’s a living, breathing, growing document. There’s always room for updating and trying to make it better with the times.”
The pending departure comes just weeks after Laramie’s Associate Planner Eric Conner vacated his position with the city. While it’s not entirely clear what will happen structurally with Laramie’s Planning Department, City Manager Janine Jordan said “Charles’ departure, in terms of timing, dictates we will fill that position.” Before making any decisions, Jordan said she would need to consult with Laramie’s Planning Manager Derek Teini, the division’s top staff member.
Before coming to Laramie in 2005, Bloom worked as a planner for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, where he received the Arkansas Traveler award from Governor Mike Huckabee.
In 2016, Bloom was the recipient of the Wyoming State Planning Association, or WYOPASS, Planner of the Year award. He also now serves as the vice president for the American Planning Association Western Central Chapter and the former president of WYOPASS.
Jordan said Bloom’s presence as a seasoned planning professional will be missed in Laramie.
“His experience is really key,” she said. “And certainly we’ll miss him, but we’re glad to have him in the fold as one of our Wyoming professionals.”
According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Bloom has big shoes to fill in a department frequently criticized by developers who want their plans for projects approved more quickly. The WTE reports that despite seemingly inexhaustible growth on the outskirts of town, it’s not uncommon to hear about a 2014 Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce-funded study concluding the department was a source of costly delays and frustrating fights over poorly understood rules.