After a national search, Madison has three finalists to lead its Planning, Community and Economic Development Department, one of the city’s key management positions.
The finalists, chosen from 28 applicants, are: Justice Castaneda, executive director of nonprofit Common Wealth Development; Eric Shaw, an adviser in community planning and capacity building for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services; and Matt Wachter, manager of the city’s Office of Real Estate Services.
Nan Fey, an attorney who had served on numerous city committees, has served in an interim capacity since mid-May following the retirement of director Natalie Erdman. Fey did not seek the permanent position.
The director is one of the city’s most influential jobs, overseeing 190 employees and an array of activities including affordable housing, development and community services while at the center of the city’s biggest projects. The pay range is $126,155 to $170,390 a year.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has met all three finalists, who were recommended by a city interview panel, and could pick one of them, seek second meetings or choose not to select any of them, said Harper Donahue, the city’s human resources director.
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The three finalists bring diverse experience:
Castaneda, who served in the Marine Corps for eight years, earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from the University of California-San Diego, master’s degrees from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of technology, and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy in urban and regional planning at UW-Madison. He’s served as executive director of Common Wealth Development, a Near East Side nonprofit that supports neighborhood vitality in the metro area, since February 2017. He’s held numerous positions in Madison and other places, most recently at the Pr
- evention Institute in Oakland, California.
- Shaw earned a bachelor’s degree in int
ernational development and public policy from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master’s in urban planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, he’s the primary con
- tact to coordinate activities related to the Camp fire disaster recovery mission. He’s held many other positions, most recently as director of the Office of Planning for the Government of the District of Columbia.
- Wachter earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations and a master’s of business administration and urban economics from UW-Madison. He’s worked for the city since 2011, initially as a grant administrator, then as a housing initiatives specialist and interim economic revitalization supervisor. In September 2017, he was named manager of the city’s Office of Real Estate Services. He has also served as a green building consultant and worked as staff in the office of then-U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.