Platte County picks Erickson to be head of 3 county departments

A long-time fixture of Platte County government will be taking on a new role in charge of several consolidated departments.

Daniel Erickson has served as director of planning and zoning since 2006 and will take over immediately as the director of “parks, planning and facilities.” According to a press release issued Tuesday, March 28, the change will allow for consolidation of management in three departments, which will increase efficiency through shared staff and resources. 

Each department will continue to have its own operations, which Erickson will head.

“While some might be concerned this may minimize the importance of these areas, quite the opposite is true,” Platte County presiding commissioner Ron Schieber said in the release. “By continually taking a comprehensive look at operation of planning, parks and facilities, we will ensure that Platte County provides exceptional services with fiscal accountability to taxpayers.”

The move will consolidate three existing departments – planning and zoning, parks and recreation and facilities. Parks and facilities have been without permanent leadership since late last year. 

Former parks director Brian Nowotny accepted a position in Jackson County government in June of 2016, and former facilities director Ken Bozenhardt was fired after being charged with stealing taxpayer money to make personal purchases, including materials to build and furnish a beer garden at his rural Platte County home. Bozenhardt is currently serving a supervised probation sentence after pleading guilty to charges filed in August of 2016, shortly before the commission voted to terminate him. 

Noel Challis served as interim parks director since Nowotny’s departure, while long-time facilities employee Pat Daly came out of retirement to serve as that department’s interim director.

Erickson graduated from West Platte High School in 1993. He and his wife, Billi, reside in Kansas City, Mo.  

“I am grateful for the confidence the commissioners have placed in me and look forward to serving the citizens of Platte County,” Erickson said.

Platte County second district commissioner John Elliott said since Erickson already has relationships with staff and officeholders and he can “hit the ground running.”

“After 11 years as director of planning and zoning, Daniel is ready for a new challenge, and we know he is up to this challenge,” said Dagmar Wood, Platte County first district commissioner. 

Earlier this month, Platte County interim public works director Bob Heim was named the new director of that department. He took over for former director Greg Sager, who resigned early this year after allegations arose that he had stolen from the department came to light. While there was an investigation by the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, no charges were filed.

The county continues to investigate options for outsourcing its human resources department, after the director of that department, Mary Robinson, resigned early this year as well.