The retirement last April of City Arborist Don McSween after 33 years coincided with several other departures from Charlotte’s Landscape Management division.
The personnel changes prompted the city to pause and take time to assess the division’s work, including the role of the chief arborist. This month the city posted a three-page job description.
Division Manager Quin Hall says the arborist handles all sorts of things associated with trees.
“Not just the tree itself – whether it’s political, or billboards, or trees falling in the roadway – you know, it just goes on and on,” Hall said.
The job description calls for someone with skills in urban forest management, pesticides and cankerworm control.
In 2011, the City Council adopted a goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy from the currently estimated 46 to 47 percent to 50 percent by the year 2050. Hall says the arborist must work with groups including businesses, homeowner associations and developers to help achieve that goal.
In working to help enforce Charlotte’s tree-protection ordinances, Hall says, the arborist must also be a good listener and a mediator.
“A tree lover but not a tree hugger,” Hall said. That’s an important balance, because at times the city arborist will have to make decisions that will result in a tree being taken down or moved.
The city of Charlotte is taking online applications for the chief arborist position through midnight Friday. The salary is listed as $82,752.