Planning director resigns

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 08:17 PM

The Henderson planning director is retiring after serving the city for almost nine years.

Erris Dunston said she is leaving to pursue a job as assistant county manager in Halifax County. Her resignation is effective April 30.

“My time with the city has been a great learning experience for me simply because when I came to the city, I didn’t really have a career plan, and I’ve really been able to develop my career plans,” Dunston said.

Dunston went back to school in 2010 for her master’s in public administration, and she graduated a year later.

“This is one of the first major career milestones in getting to my ultimate goal and I would credit that to my work in the city,” she said.

City Manager Ray Griffin described Dunston as a hard worker and said she will be greatly missed.

“She enjoys training and learning new things,” he said. “She is a team player and has worked well with people, particularly our customers.”

Griffin said one of her successes in Henderson was writing two HOPE VI applications, which awarded the city $1 million for each grant. HOPE VI is a funding program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that aims to assist communities with severely distressed public housing units.

“That allowed us to go much farther in our redevelopment efforts,” he said.

Some of the grant funding was used to convert the vacant upper floors of downtown businesses into apartments.

That experience will come in handy in her new post.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for her, and we wish her well in her new endeavor,” Griffin said.

Dunston said the move is about advancing her career, not getting out of Henderson. Her ultimate goal is to be a county or city manager.

“I don’t want people to think I am leaving because of something negative,” she said. “It’s been a positive experience. I have been able to grow and this is part of my growth.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.