St. Louis County Planning and Economic Development Director Hayden to retire

St. Louis County’s longtime Planning and Economic Development Director will be stepping down at the end of this week.

Barb Hayden is retiring after 20 years leading services ranging from land use planning, to community development, to battling aquatic invasive species.

Among her more notable accomplishments, Hayden led her department’s use of Enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) and the launch of the county’s online Land Explorer, a database of land records and information from multiple departments.

Hayden has been a leader in changing the county’s approach to managing tax forfeited properties, particularly in urban areas, so that more of these properties are being sold and used for community development. She also led efforts to make a variety of land use permit applications available online, for better convenience for citizens, and improved processing for staff.

“Barb has been instrumental on so many fronts that serve our residents, businesses and visitors,” said County Administrator Kevin Gray. “She’s a natural leader who inspires her staff and colleagues. I am going to miss her wisdom and unique perspectives that have led to better solutions and service to our citizens.”

Darren Jablonsky, the Deputy Director of Planning and Community Development, will lead the department in the interim. The County has been conducting an extensive search for a replacement since Hayden announced her retirement plans earlier this year.