Marin County town to recruit full-time climate official

Corte Madera is gearing up to hire its first climate planning coordinator.

The Town Council directed staff Tuesday to begin recruitment for the new position as soon as possible. The coordinator would be tasked with developing programs and projects to address wildfires, sea-level rise, extreme heat, flooding and other climate-related threats.

The town has budgeted $180,000 to cover salary, benefits and operational costs. The base salary would range from $88,962 to $108,139 annually, or up to $129,929 when including health benefits and a retirement plan.

“Needless to say, I’m quite excited about this,” said Councilmember Eli Beckman, the council liaison on the town’s climate committee.

“The Town Council and staff over recent years have done a really good job of making clear this is a priority for us to address both climate action, right — doing something about climate change  — but also climate adaptation, preparing our town for the effects of climate change and flooding and wildfire,” Beckman said. “So, I think this is fantastic.”

Todd Cusimano, who is winding down his run as town manager before becoming Mill Valley’s city manager in the fall, said getting to this point has been a two-year effort.

The council joined other jurisdictions in December 2020 to declare a climate emergency. That same month the council approved the town’s climate plan. In May 2021, the town approved a climate adaptation assessment, Cusimano said.

In October 2021, officials hosted a climate planning session, which led to the creation of the climate committee later that year, he said.

Committee member Leslie Alden said it’s been a long road.

“I urge the council to move with all due haste to approve this as soon as possible,” Alden told the council.

Cusimano said the climate coordinator will act as the support staff for the climate committee, working with administration, the planning staff and the public works department to initiate programs and projects. At the start, the coordinator will report directly to the town manager, Cusimano said.

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