Montgomery County planning director ousted

The Montgomery County, Maryland, department that looks at community masterplans and reviews applications for development has had a change of leadership after its director since 2013 was ousted months before retirement.

The Montgomery County Planning Board said Friday that it had named Tanya Stern as the acting Montgomery County Planning director. Stern, who was the deputy planning director, replaces Gwen Wright, who was due to retire in December.

Wright told Bethesda Beat that she was “fired without cause” and was sorry to end on a “very sour note.” Her firing comes amid an allegation of “inappropriate language and behavior in the workplace” against Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson.

WJLA’s 7News obtained a confidential email alleging a “toxic misogynistic and hostile workplace” cultivated in part by Anderson.

Anderson has recently been reprimanded by the Montgomery County council and stripped of four weeks’ pay after acknowledging that he kept a well-stocked liquor cabinet inside his office, Maryland Matters reported.

Wright told WJLA that there may be people who have concerns about Anderson, but they are “not my employees.” The Montgomery County Planning Department has some 150 employees.

The director position is an at-will position appointed by the board. The board voted to remove Wright during a closed session, according to Bethesda Beat. Anderson was not present during the vote, citing an unexpected emergency.

Wright has been the director since 2013. She started with The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, of which the planning department is part, in 1987.

“We thank and appreciate Gwen Wright’s many years of service to M-NCPPC and Montgomery Planning and the legacy of excellence in planning and urban design by Montgomery Planning during that time,” Stern said in a statement.

Stern became deputy director in 2018. Before that, she worked for 14 years in D.C. government.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up