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Moorpark News

Posted on: August 19, 2021

City of Moorpark Announces Carlene Saxton as New Community Development Director

City Manager Troy Brown is pleased to announce Carlene Saxton as Moorpark’s next Community Development Director.  Ms. Saxton’s first day at City Hall will be September 27.

As Community Development Director, Saxton will oversee the City’s planning, building and safety, affordable housing, and code compliance programs while overseeing a staff of nine at City Hall.  Known for her collaborative mindset and relationship-building, she joins the Moorpark team at a critical time for the City, which is in the midst of its first-ever comprehensive General Plan update, and as the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on land use and housing.

Saxton looks forward to joining a community that is actively painting a portrait of what it wants to be in the future, noting, “General Plans truly belong to the community.  I’m excited to learn what is important to the Moorpark community and am committed to making the community’s vision a reality.”

Saxton comes to Moorpark from the City of Palmdale, where she has served as Director of Economic and Community Development since September 2020, following an eight-month stint as Deputy Director and Acting Planning Manager.  Her career in public service followed a private-sector career as an environmental planner.  While in Palmdale, she oversaw its planning, building and safety, and economic development staff and personally served as project manager for Palmdale’s first comprehensive General Plan update in nearly three decades.

Saxton’s hiring followed a nationwide search by executive recruitment firm Bob Murray & Associates, who solicited applications from 28 individuals from both within and outside California.  Said Brown, “Carlene brings to the team a deep enthusiasm for local engagement along with an outstanding track record of getting things done in the areas of both Community Development and Economic Development.  In particular, her direct experience revitalizing Palmdale’s downtown and leading Palmdale’s General Plan Update will be tremendously valuable to Moorpark.”

As Director of Economic and Community Development for Palmdale, Saxton added significantly to the City’s economic development toolbox, working to establish an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD), Public Financing Authority, and Tourism Improvement District.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, she also helped develop small business grant and small business promotion programs.  She also oversaw a staff of 31 people and managed a budget of $18 million.  “I’m passionate about ensuring the City has the tools and funding necessary to best serve the community and achieve its goals,” added Saxton. 

Saxton holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Valparaiso University and a master’s degree in development and planning from University College London.  She also is an active member of Women Leading Government, an organization helping women succeed in public service by enhancing career-building models that develop leadership skills and by networking with professional women in government.

Ms. Saxton succeeds Karen Vaughn, who retired from the City at the end of May, and Planning Manager Douglas Spondello, who had been serving as the Interim Community Development Director since that time.

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